For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,
For health and food, for love and friends,
For everything Thy goodness sends.
~ By Ralph Waldo Emerson
Thanksgiving Day 2011 at our house was a warm, relaxed celebration. With my mom and stepdad, siblings and spouses, nieces, nephews, my daughter, and my husband’s adult children, and our almost-two-year-old granddaughter, the house was filled with happy, familiar faces and lots of love. A little chaotic at times (spaces are tight, so moving from one room to another was a challenge when everyone had the same idea), we managed to settle in for a bountiful feast and to simply enjoy one another’s company.
I truly love and enjoy this family of which I am so fortunate to be a part. I was born into my natal family: to my mother, my sisters and brother; but this family that I cherish today includes a supportive, loving stepfather, who doesn’t replace my father who is now deceased, but instead brings harmony to the love and values my dad gave me. It also includes a sister- and brothers-in-law who I feel as close to as I do my much-loved siblings, and who have made it possible for me to have beautiful nieces and nephews who keep our family young and active. I am also blessed with a daughter who, although it may sound cliché, is my pride and joy (and who has a witty humor), and a devoted husband who stays by my side and cheers me on through good times and challenging ones. Additionally, through my husband, I am blessed to include his adult children into my family and the sweet, independent toddler who is his granddaughter. My husband’s children are thoughtful, caring, warm people and his granddaughter a simple pleasure to spend any time around (okay, except at times when the “terrible twos” emerge, even though I still think she’s cute!) (Did I mention she’s potty-training now?).
It is an amazing thing, a miracle really, to consider how our paths have all brought us together to not only share a Thanksgiving Day meal, but to share our lives. Because of the connections my mom, sisters, and brother, and I have made extending from our family, we have widened our family circle and have experienced, and continue to experience, the richness and fullness of a diverse, extended family. And it is because others reached out to make connections to us that our widened family circle widens even more broadly to extend to and include their own families as well. This is what our world is about. We are all family, even if we don’t always realize it or recognize it. When we do, we feel that the world is a smaller, more familiar place. Thinking once more of Emerson’s Thanksgiving poem, I feel extremely grateful for all I have been blessed, and I wish ten thousand times those blessings to you!