My daughter recently informed me that she hates Thanksgiving. I was shocked. ‘Why?’ I asked. I have always thought of Thanksgiving as being the best part of the holiday season, offering us a day to reflect on the things we are grateful for, and to celebrate these things with the people we love most. It’s a gentle way to usher in a month of excess, for better or worse. Thanksgiving is not complicated by commercialization; it does not encompass weeks of stressful shopping and gift-wrapping. It does not confront us with the emotional expectations of Christmas, or the spiritual reconciliation brought on with every New Year. How could she possibly hate Thanksgiving?
“It’s so boring,” she bemoaned. “All you do is sit around and eat, and maybe watch football on TV.”
Okay, I thought; that does make sense. I remembered how, when I was younger and still living at home, I came to loath the sound of a football game on television. Hearing it signified that there was absolutely nothing going on in my life. And long after I moved away and began creating a life for myself, it still represented the B word. Boredom. (Let me be clear. I have nothing against football. I actually like football, especially the college games – although my knowledge is of a very rudimentary nature – and I don’t have an allegience to any particular team.)
Still, I was baffled, because Jenn loves football. She loves sports – especially playing
sports. But she hasn’t played football, at least to my knowledge. Which I consider to be somewhat ironic, because even though I am not – and never have been – a jock, I have. Well, touch football, anyway. With my brother and his friends on Thanksgiving Day, when our parents implored us to ‘go outside and get some fresh air.’ We must have been rowdy indoors, but I don’t recall.
I do recall many later Thanksgivings where I did not have time to be bored, because I was the one doing the cooking – and a great deal of the clean up. I also remember begging the kids to run off some steam outside so I could hear the football game.
The pressure’s off this year. I will not be cooking. However, I will be thinking about how much there is to be grateful for. A home, a job, my health, a network of wonderful friends. And the absolute pleasure of seeing my children grow into adulthood. My life is far from perfect, but blessed nonetheless.
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