The Morning After

I know that many people love Thanksgiving, but I’m one of the odd ones who doesn’t think it’s the best holiday. I like the people I spend it with well enough, but I’ve always felt drained after socializing with those I only see once or twice a year, and gorging myself on food that I really don’t like that much is hardly something I look forward to.

Many people I know focus on the fact that Thanksgiving is about the people you spend it with, and I believe that’s true. I do feel a great deal of gratitude in my life. But for some reason saying thank you on Thanksgiving feels disingenuous to me, as if it were required of me. I like telling other people how much I care about them, and so my first impulse is to be as gushy as possible on Thanksgiving, writing long Facebook posts, and spilling my heart about the gratitude I feel in my life.

But I ask myself: why couldn’t I do this every other day of the year? Why did I wait for today to tell people they are wonderful? It’s easy for us to forget to tell people we are grateful, to wait until someone prods us or asks us what we’re grateful for. Unfortunately, people need to hear that we care for them, that we’re grateful for them.

I know that I am grateful for a great deal in my life. I know that I need to say “thanks” more often, in a real, honest way. And so I’m going to make it my mission for the next year to find some way to express gratitude every day.

I’m going to start today. I am grateful for my mother. While we’ve had some growing pains in our relationship recently, she has given me more than I can say. She has guided me through incredibly difficult situations, both moral dilemmas and hard times. She has cared for me when I refused to care for myself. She has taught me the principles of feminism, of social justice, of caring for others, and yet she has urged me to be honest and caring with myself. My mother is someone who inspires me. She is brilliant, giving, and dedicated to what she does. She gives her time and money to others and never spends enough of it on herself.

But more than any of these things, my mother is one of the few people who truly is present with me. We can sit and talk for hours because she makes it a point to be THERE when we talk. This means we can talk about almost anything, and I know that she will give me her real opinions, think through what I’m saying, truly engage with me. This is the best gift that anyone can give another person: their true time and energy, and I am so deeply grateful for it.

I love you Mom ❤

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