Giving Thanks, Midwestern Style

Every television program or movie I watch that portraits Thanksgiving makes a big production of going around the massive table and hearing what everyone in the group is thankful for that year.  Big, midwestern Thanksgivings in my area include coming together with your whole extended family:  grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, in-laws, anyone who is alone for the holiday, etc.  This means that I have two unbelievably incredible meals to eat in one day: one for my dad’s side of the family and one for my mom’s side of the family.  There were years, when there was a boyfriend involved, that we had four places to visit on Thanksgiving (and many guilt trips about not eating enough at any of the stops along the way.) You would think at some point, I would have witnessed one of those profoundly moving moments where everyone in the room shares what they are grateful for, but I have not.  And I really want to experience that.

This bird’s got nothing on my grandma’s dinner!

Instead, this year I am going to list the things that I am overwhelmingly grateful for:

** The health of my grandparents.  I have four living grandparents, which at my age is amazing.  I am grateful every day for the presence they have been in my life and I try to see them as much as possible.

** The support of my parents.  They have always been there for me, even when they didn’t necessarily agree with my decisions.

** My brother.  We are seven years apart and fought incessantly as children, but now that we are both adults if feels as if we are only a couple of years apart.  (Maybe that’s because I am so youthful!)

** My career.  It may not be exactly where I want to be right now, but I have a fulfilling career in which I am able to help others.  In this economy, that is more than many people are able to say.

** Friends from all realms of my life.  Friendships burn bright and become dim at different points in my life.  I have close friends from all the different paths in my life: childhood, high school, college, former co-workers, workout buddies, friends made during past relationships, etc.  All of these friendships have changed shape as life progresses, but I know that each of these people are a part of my life for a reason.

** Mild winter weather.  I haven’t had to scrape my car windshield off once this year yet! (That might be partially due to the fact that I am lazy and simply turn my car on five minutes before I leave for work to avoid scraping, but there have been no major snowstorms that have forced me to do more.)

** Fog delays at school.  Two extra hours to sleep in and not having to make up the day at the end of the year. Yes, please.

** Lazy Days.  The day after Thanksgiving, my cousin stayed in town and we simply sat around, drinking bloody marys and making a relaxing drive to the local winery to drink in front of their fireplace.  There’s nothing better than impromptu lazy days.

I could list many more, from the genuine and serious facet to the silly and ridiculous (but just as important!)  But I have to hurry up because one of things I am grateful for is time with my grandparents and I have plans to take both my grandmas to a holiday concert this afternoon.  Happy Holidays to all!

What things are you thankful for, both serious and silly?


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