Today is Thanksgiving, the time of year where we take a day to stop and give thanks for the wonderful things that have happened in our lives. Families typically gather together to celebrate by eating food, watching sports or holiday specials, and catching up with their loved ones.
Yesterday, I got a reminder of just how thankful one should be to be able to do these things with those they care about. After writing yesterday’s “Thankful” post, I noticed someone had pressed the “like” button for it on my page. I clicked on the screen name of the person who had liked the post, and was taken to another site for the Bella Grove Plantation Bed and Breakfast, located in my home state of Virginia.
I read a couple of the blogs they had on their page, and the 3rd one mentioned that the owner’s mother had passed away this week. It’s always hard to lose someone close to you, especially during the holidays when everything is supposed to feel festive and happy.
Reading her dedication to her mother, as well as the thanks and love she showed to her friends and family who were there in their time of need, really got me thinking about my own set of family and friends. I think sometimes as we get busy and move along in life, we forget that those closest to us won’t be around forever. It’s really important that we cherish people while they’re still here, and create memories with them that will allow us to look back and smile.
I was fortunate enough to have 2 parents that both came from big families. My Dad’s Mom was one of 15 kids, so on his side I have lots of uncles, aunts, and great-versions of both, not to mention the extensive amount of cousins, 2nd cousins and 3rd cousins. Family reunions on Dad’s side of the family were always huge affairs, and I remember always looking forward to them so I could hang out with my cousins, joke around with some of my elders, and hear stories about how things used to be while they were growing up. (Yes, if any of you are reading this, I LIKE learning about family history, okay?!?)
As for my Mom, she herself was one of six children – 3 sisters, 2 brothers. Unlike my Dad’s side of the family who reside mostly in one state (Virginia), my Mom’s siblings spread out throughout the country – Pennsylvania, Alabama, Louisiana, California, Nevada (Las Vegas, baby!). Getting the chance to visit them always meant being able to travel to another state, and I LOVE road trips and plane rides!
What I always liked about my Mom’s side of the family was they’ve always been straight talkers, and a little bit sarcastic. We’d spend hours talking, cracking jokes on each other, and the stories they told about their childhood, especially the ones involving my grandmother, were always shocking (to say the least), yet insightful and entertaining.
When I was a kid, I got to have these kinds of moments with my families more often than I do now. Most of my Dad’s family is in Virginia and I’m out in Los Angeles, so I don’t get home to see them nearly as much as I’d like to. I have 2 of my aunts on my Mom’s side here out west that I can visit more frequently, but I still miss being able to get to see the other ones more than once or twice a year.
Because of this, I’m also very grateful for the set of friends I’ve made that feel like close family. These are my “ride or die” friends; the ones who helped me transition when I first moved to California, and even managed to help keep me out here at times when I ran out of money and didn’t know what my next step was going to be. We’re able to be honest with each other, have fun together, be there for each other during the hard times, and are willing to do things for each other even when we don’t always feel like it.
Most importantly, we cherish the time we spend with each other. All of us have different things going on in our lives, so we’re always aware that the way we interact with each other today will change at some point, whether it be due to having kids, getting married, or moving someplace else. For now, though, we’re in each others lives, and as such we do our best to make these moments count.
So, regardless of where you’re at on this day, be it with family, friends, or both, be sure to create moments that are enjoyable and filled with laughs, love, bonding… and good ol’ fashioned turkey!
Ah, spending quality time with family and/or friends… now THAT’S something to be thankful for!
– Aaron P. Taylor
Get the book, “Be Thankful: 1001 Things to be Thankful For” today! Click HERE for more information!