Yesterday was Thanksgiving and while I had a fabulous time with family, it’s not like it used to be. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed myself, but times have changed and I am not the only one who’s noticed.
When I’m not writing romance novels, I work at my local hospital as a mammogram/radiologic technologist. While waiting for my patient to fill out her screening sheet for her mammogram on Wednesday, I noticed the volume in the imaging waiting room had increased and wondered what people were discussing. They were laughing and talking with such optimism and joy that I new they weren’t discussing the news. It sounded like the den in my grandmother’s house after a Thanksgiving meal. So, when I called my patient back to the mammo suite, I asked her what all the excited chatter was about and to my surprise, she said Thanksgiving. The patients in our waiting room were all elderly and they were discussing with much fondness, memories from Thanksgivings past.
And so, my patient and I began sharing stories before her exam. Afterward, we both came to the same conclusion. Thanksgiving isn’t what it used to be.
Oh, it is still a time to celebrate and be with family, but families no longer live clustered together in the same community. Heck, my own daughter lives in Germany and has been there for the past eight Thanksgivings. In all that time, she has only been home once. That’s not her fault by any means, but it’s still sad in a way. When I was her age and my grandmother was still alive, the entire family would converge on her house at once. She lived in a large farmhouse, but even then, she had to set up tables in various rooms to accommodate the crowd. She had four sons who all had wives and she had nine grandchildren who were all married and had already started giving her great-grandchildren. Then there were the occasional great grandaunts and uncles and second and third cousins who would occasionally show up.
Nope, I don’t think anyone does Thanksgiving like that anymore, but I will not mourn what is past and will instead celebrate with those I can. I still hope that somewhere in America, someone’s grandmother is hosting a huge feast for her large extended family. But in today’s society, not only is distance a factor, but so is divorce. There are too many families whose children are dividing their time between parents and grandparents, making it impossible for families to gather the way they used to. Then there is Black Friday shopping which has suddenly encroached on Thanksgiving Day the way Christmas slowly has.
I mean really, I love Christmas as much as anyone. Maybe more than most, but I cannot in good conscience decorate for one holiday before celebrating the prior. And, I refuse to let sensationalized news ruin what should be a time of celebration and gratitude.
So, today, I offer a bit of advice for anyone who mourns the past or fears for the future.
Do not mourn what you have lost. Do not envy what you do not have or those who have more. Be grateful for your blessings, no matter how small. Today is a time to celebrate and give thanks. It is not a time to worry about the future or fume or mourn over the past. Be thankful and move forward with a grateful heart.