Thanksgiving almost didn’t happen this year. Even though, since moving to Canada, I have two annual opportunities to celebrate, it felt like the holiday might pass me by entirely. Still, there’s always time to be thankful. And right now, I’m blasting with gratitude.
Alas, my honey and I were both sick in the days leading up to “Canadian Thanksgiving” weekend in mid-October. The week before, we had invited a small group of friends over for dinner that Sunday night. Even though we were still sneezing and coughing Saturday morning, we were optimistic that the tide would turn, so we did a big grocery shop — a big chicken and all the fixings. [Gratitude blast: I’m thankful for Thanksgiving!]
By the time evening rolled around Saturday night, though, the germs were winning, and knowing our friends wouldn’t appreciate getting sick too, we cancelled. Of course, everyone understood and loved us anyway. [Gratitude blast: I’m thankful for my friends, near and far. The friends I’m able to see in person, the ones I talk to on the phone, and the ones I only see online these days…. all of you, through the years, have made my life so full, have graced me with the feelings of belonging to a community and knowing that I am loved, have helped me create a lifetime of memories.]
Not wanting to let our shopping expedition go to waste, we ended up preparing most of the food that Sunday afternoon and had a quiet (albeit sniffly) dinner together in our pajamas. Needless to say, we ate leftovers for a week, which wasn’t a bad thing; I think I covered my quota of brussels sprouts for the next two years, and more importantly, the resulting chicken soup helped us heal. [Gratitude blast: I am thankful for our good health.]
[And another gratitude blast: I’m thankful for our food. I am so thankful for the amazing food we are able to buy, and that others grow and make for us. I am thankful every day for the delicious and nutritious food that my honey prepares so thoughtfully and lovingly for us. I am thankful for there always being enough, for never having to be hungry.]
Today is “American Thanksgiving” – though it’s not a holiday here. I’ve never missed celebrating it, either with a trip to visit family in the States, or a dinner in Vancouver. This year, though, it just felt like there wasn’t going to be a Thanksgiving in November.
Times have changed. For the past 40 or so years, in one form or another, my family’s celebrated this holiday with family friends in Palm Springs, but now, the generations have finally shifted us into new places. My parents and their friends, now in their 70’s and 80’s, have turned over the reins to my generation, whose children range in age from youngsters to young adults… and we have spread out and are creating our own traditions, as is meant to happen. It’s a good thing.
[Gratitude blast: I’m thankful for my family. My parents are sharing a meal with their own friends tonight. I am grateful for the company they keep, for their good health (for the most part!), and most of all, for their love and support. My brother and his family are staying in and enjoying the bounty of their life in their beautiful new home.
My in-laws are all thriving. Everyone is safe and sound.]
The truth is, knowing that there would be no gathering in Palm Springs this year, I simply wrote off Thanksgiving months ago. So much so that I made plans to attend a focus group tonight in support of a friend who’s starting a new business, completely forgetting what today was.
[Gratitude blast: I’m thankful for social entrepreneurs. So many of my Vancouver friends make the world better through business. I am so thankful to know them and their good work, and to support them however I’m able.]
Toward the end of last week, though, I realized that Thanksgiving was fast approaching. And I do LOVE this holiday – it’s always such a powerful reminder to me to give thanks now, and every day, for everything in my life… all of the gifts.
While we’re at it, and since it’s the season, here’s another gratitude blast… just a few more random things for which I’m thankful:
- Canada’s new government and its commitment to welcome 25,000 Syrian refugees in the next several months.
- Sunny days in November (no rain!)
- Saturday mornings with challah french toast and coffee and the Globe and Mail
- Watching Laila, our cat, jump four feet in the air when she gets a new flying toy
- “Jane the Virgin” (true confession – we watched the first 19 episodes during our recent trip to Minneapolis!)
- Walking around Douglas Park on frosty evenings with crunchy fall leaves covering the sidewalks
- The Eastside Culture Crawl, reminding me of all the talent that surrounds us, and so pleased that some people are brave enough to share their art with the world.
And this Saturday, borrowing from the Canadian tradition whereby Thanksgiving can take place any time over the holiday weekend that’s convenient, I’m grateful that we will bring our friends together in our home for a proper holiday meal.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!