On being thankful…

This post is a re-tread from 4 years ago and I’m astonished at how much has not changed. While we no longer live in Atlanta, my mother is now 93, not 87 and my son is wrapping up a Masters degree in engineering, not starting college as he was in the original post, the important bits are the same–mainly the intense gratitude I feel for all that I have: my friends and family, my country, my hope for the future, and my thankfulness for today.

It’s Monday afternoon.  I spent some time this weekend marveling over the gorgeous fall colors all over Atlanta—a full month later than they’ve ever shown up before. Today I also note that the cooler fall weather has finally come to Atlanta which doesn’t matter because my husband and I will soon be packing up the car and heading south for Thanksgiving as we do every year.

Inside the house, the fireplace has been burning all day. My day has been full of last-minute freelance projects—received late and needing to be done early on top of cooking, cleaning and editing my latest novel.

And I am so thankful.

I am thankful for the chance to write books for a living. I’m grateful for a cozy little house, and for four non-psycho pets who enhance my life, for friends, for a smooth transition of my only child’s introduction to his first semester at college and for my own relatively successful entrée into the world of the empty nest.

Tomorrow my husband and I will drive six hours to my mother’s house in Florida for Thanksgiving. My older brother and his wife have come from northern California, my son will come from his campus fifty miles south of his grandmother’s house. My other brothers will come, loaded down with ham and pies and photos to share and stories to tell. I am thankful that we will have the whole family together again for another year.

My husband and I will bring the dressing as we do every year, the recipe handed down from my father—gone now these past 25 years—and one I have enjoyed for nearly every Thanksgiving and Christmas of my life. We shopped Trader Joes and Whole Foods and the local markets in my Atlanta neighborhood for ingredients and specialty items that we buy only once a year. We picked up bottles of Beaujolais Nouveau, tins of holiday cookies and candied nuts. This afternoon, as I fried the sausage for the dressing, I thought how lucky I am to be able to buy all this food, to not have to think twice about obtaining the things I felt I needed to make our family’s feast.

I am most thankful that we will all be together for the first time in a year. Through all the health scares, the employment woes, the insecurities, the stresses—both financial and emotional—I can’t forget how lucky we all are to have each other. I know my mother, 89 this year, will sparkle for as long as all her chicks—every one present and accounted for—are gathered in her house. I know this time won’t last forever and that one of these Thanksgivings, we won’t all be together. I know how lucky I am, and how grateful I am for Thanksgiving 2012.

Finally, regardless of how you felt about the outcome of the recent elections, I think you have to be truly thankful to live in a place where the threat of bombs and tanks and guns does not exist. This week, when you spare a thought—among the table settings and turkey drumsticks and football schedules—for those families on both sides of the Gaza/Israel border, I think, like myself, you have to be grateful for our country and for the peace that most of us have always known.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

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