It’s pretty clear that this is my favorite time of year! Have a mentioned it enough for you?! If I haven’t, it is! It’s the holidays, time with our families and memories made that make this time – the time from the beginning of Fall to the New Year – the best time for me.
I put a lot of thought into this response. Am I most thankful for a place in my house, a place in my childhood home, or a place that I visit to find solace and peace? As my mind wandered, the reoccurring image that I could see was the Thanksgiving table at my Aunt’s house. It’s been a tradition for years…really for as long as I can remember. My entire family gathers together, typically about 40 or so of us. We all cram in to my Aunt’s beautifully decorate dining room. There is a huge banquet table that fits a majority of the family, along with two separate tables for those who need to sit in overflow and the children’s table.
If you were a fly on the wall, you would see a frantic scramble to find the perfect seat – next to your favorite cousin or Aunt – the person that you would spend the majority of the meal talking to. You would see a frenzied pace of people trying to find their spot, while others squeeze by – trying to deliver piping hot dishes of goodness to the buffet. It’s a true feast in every sense of the word. The table is ornately decorated, the place settings are perfect. Depending on the year, there may even be place cards, created with love by the youngest members of our family.
Once everyone finds their seat, my Uncle reads a prayer. It’s always a moving prayer, reminding us of those we should be thankful for, those who are no longer with us and those we miss so much. We haven’t done this in previous years, because the gathering has grown so large, but after the prayer we would often go around the table and each of us would say what we were thankful for. It was an unspoken competition between the cousins to see which one of our responses could get the Aunt’s to cry first. Clearly, my emotional self has strong roots in an emotional family. All joking aside, it was always nice to hear what each of us was thankful for and to watch our priorities change over the years.
After a delicious meal, the kids go outside to play. The men watch football. The women clean up. No one minds their assigned tasks, because we are all doing it together. The rest of the evening is spent chatting, until dessert is served. Sometimes a game is played. Sometimes conversation continues. Throughout the entire evening, I find myself stopping to take mental pictures – of the people, of the togetherness, of the love that we all share.
Although this may be the place that I am most thankful for, it represents so much more. I’m thankful for something so much greater – the gift of a loving family, of the time we spend together, the closeness of it, the feeling of it, the joys that we share, the jokes that we make. The dining room table at my Aunt’s house on Thanksgiving is just a symbol for what we should appreciate each and every day of the year – a caring and loving family, warm food to nourish us, being together, sharing experiences, and being thankful that we are all there each year to share it together. I’m thankful beyond words for that.
I’m linking up with Kenzie over at Chasing Happy for the month of November.
Be sure to stop by and check it out!