The Turkey is Not the Point

I hate turkey. In fact, my favorite Thanksgiving dinner was in 2011, when I at last decided to break away from tradition and serve my family king crab and oyster chowder.

“When you think about it,” I explained, “shellfish is a very authentic Thanksgiving-ish food, since the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag lived so close to the sea.” Luckily, my kids were totally happy with eating crab, although they thought my oyster chowder tasted like pond sludge. (Oh well…I still thought it was better than turkey).

When it comes down to it, however, it is not about whether one likes or dislikes turkey. Or oyster chowder, for that matter. The point of Thanksgiving is to stop and reflect on our blessings, to express our gratitude, and to share those blessings with those we love. This year, I asked my children to come up with a personal list of three blessings for which they are grateful. (Their response is at the end of this post).

I made a list, as well. It wasn’t exactly easy to do. This year has been somewhat riddled with difficulties. And when you are feeling overwhelmed with obstacles, it can be somewhat challenging to reflect on the good things. But still, I reflected, and here is my list:

  1. Our house, which may be small and old, but it is warm and cozy during the cold nights, and the roof doesn’t leak (much).
  2. My substitute teaching job, which may not be a steady as my old permanent position, but every little bit helps to get the bills paid.
  3. Health! Healthy children who hardly ever get sick, as well as my own remarkably good health this year.
  4. Our opportunities to travel together this year. Though we may lack the resources to travel far, the kids and I have been very fortunate to explore beautiful cities, beaches, and locations up and down the West coast. I am also grateful that my kids are so easy to travel with.
  5. My iPad. I know, I know, this is such a silly, materialistic thing to add. Really, I am not a materialistic person. I do not care about designer brand names, and I am just as happy to read a book from the library as I am to own one. But my iPad has been very important to me…a very practical tool, a source of entertainment, as well as a window to the world for this severe introvert.
  6. Music. Poetry. Literature. Art. The beautiful things that give my spirit wings to soar above the fog of life.
  7. The San Francisco Forty-Niners, who are having another incredible season this year. Also Manchester United FC (that’s soccer, people), Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and the LA Lakers.
  8. Katniss, Buffy, Sydney Bristow, and all those other kick-ass female characters who inspire me to be stronger than I think I can be.
  9. Rainy days, scented candles, hot cups of tea, and cozy blankets to cuddle in.
  10. Humor. Laughter, to me, is the best medicine, and can pretty much cure and prevent any affliction.

Well, technically it is still (Everything-but)Turkey Day for another 20 minutes. So, wherever in the world you may be, readers, take a few moments to reflect on your blessings, and have a very Happy Thanksgiving.

What Are You Thankful For? from Tiare75 on Vimeo.