Oklahoma City family fun has its purpose.
Thanksgiving is all about families and gratitude, everyone gathered around the table together. This month features my favorite holiday; it's closely tied with Halloween in my book because of exactly that: the memories we make together on these dates by taking time to celebrate them purposefully.
What I love about Thanksgiving is the concept of taking one day to step back and recognize what we're thankful for exactly.
My family is like every other family we know: busy, stressed, tired. Everyone could use a break right now.
And next week is that week. We'll take a day or two and just relax.
There's food to cook and we are grateful that preparing a meal for everyone to enjoy will be our biggest worry for one day.
There's a house to clean but we're grateful to have a home.
There's laundry to fold but thank God we have that ability to wash and dry it; clothes and clean water are a luxury in so many places.
My family visits a lot of Oklahoma City venues and we are grateful for those experiences. I never want to lose sight of why we go and do the activities featured in this blog. They're our own way to have fun together, see something new, challenge our three sons to find out about what's in their community and how they fit into that bigger picture.
I think back to a sociology textbook diagram with this nucleus of the individual, the family, the school, the community, the state, the country, the world, illustrated concentric circles all lined up and orderly. Here we are, part of something that's not just our family. That's what I feel with Thanksgiving, connectedness.
This past weekend, I pulled out a paper craft kit and made a gratitude tree with my sons, ages 4 and 9. Each one got to choose a color of leaf to add to the tree with what each person is thankful for written on it. What surprised me about Sam and Isaac's answers was how basic they were. Sam is in fourth grade and he penned "a good education," "a family who loves me," "some nice friends," "good food" and "the gift of life" in careful cursive. Isaac's list, which he asked for help to write, was more electic: "cats, animals specifically lions, coffee, Christmas trees and my family." Check. Except the lions. I don't know why the lions.
I am aware of families who are grieving right now. I know families who are worried, anxious, disappointed or upset. We are all dealing with something no one wants to talk about, politely sidestepped for this meal with its starched napkins, parsley and the good china. This November, more than any other I can recall, feels like a really difficult one. Time may not always heal us in all things but some free time to think about all that we have and to enjoy contentment is so important; taking a timeout is the tradition I want our family to have this Thursday, more than any other.
Before the Christmas rush begins with toy lists and visits to Santa, we'll take time to break bread and name what it is we're thankful for in particular this year.
Last Thanksgiving, we were moving and nothing was certain. This year, it's better, even as uncertainty takes up space in other areas. There is a time to sit back and say "We're doing okay." There is a measure of peace with that and I am grateful for work to do, teachers who do their jobs and all the people who do the best they can.
Happy Thanksgiving, from our family to yours. May you find peace to begin this holiday season!