Column: Time changes holidays, but be thankful for the memories you have and those yet to be made
Although American holidays mean different things to different people, Thanksgiving for many of us is a time to appreciate and reflect on good fortunes past, present and future.
It's a time we try to spend with people we love. It’s a time when we offer what we can spare to those who need it more. It’s really altogether rather good stuff.As a kid, Thanksgiving often failed to capture the same level of excitement as the holidays with prize giving mascots, gift exchanges and spooky costumes. But as an adult I've come to realize how much I actually did appreciate it on a level I never understood at the time.
The holiday gave me so many great memories with people who are no longer with me today and for that I'm Thankful.
In particular, the holiday always surfaces memories of my grandparents and their kindness. I'm thankful for them in many ways, but at this time of year I remember that it was through their magic that the family got together around holidays.
Losing grandparents or anyone special changes holidays. So does time, distance and opportunity. Life happens, the world changes, people move, obligations hamper best intentions and that's OK.
I know part of the change is because we are more spread out and while some of us are putting up solid numbers in the kid department, overall we have not produced offspring at the same rate as our parents, and certainly not our grandparents.
Even if we aren't all together on the holidays now, thanks to my grandparents we were. I will never forget, and always cherish, the days being surrounded by cousins, aunts and uncles in a cramped house busy with a holiday feel and a variety of wonderful smells coming from the kitchen.
Those memories are what makes Thanksgiving special to me. It’s a gift we all received and one I'm sure we’ve all kept over the years.
And the real lesson in all of this is it’s a gift we can give by reaching out or getting together with our friends and family.
Now, I'm very fortunate to still share a meal with my family in a cramped house on Thanksgiving, even if it's due more to square feet than the number of bodies.
And yes, the modern celebrations are different, but they haven't lost their value. I get to enjoy a day with my family and my children who get to see many of their favorite people.
In the coming days I’m hoping I can bring a smile to the face of my significant other and I'm looking forward to a day at home with the boys.
I plan to challenge the kids to some tabletop games and enjoy some laughs with my parents and siblings even if it requires a phone call to accomplish some of those tasks.
And while my traditions may not be the same as those of generations before - I'll be watching "Dutch," "Planes, Trains and Automobiles” and Charlie Brown while enjoying a beer. I’m hopeful someday in the future my kids will come to realize the magic of the holiday.
Now I know for some the holidays will be hard. In the past two weekends I've attended memorial services for the parents of some of my close friends. In both instances I knew the deceased very well. Having grown up with their children I'd shared drinks, laughs, and good times with both of them. Both were loved members of the community who raised children I'm happy to call friends.
I wrote this with those who will have empty seats at their tables in mind. I urge those who read this to remember times you were fortunate enough to share with those you've lost rather than dwell on their absence.
I know that's what my grandparents would have wanted me to do and for that I'm Thankful.