I posted my Thanksgiving photos on my blog yesterday and was visiting some of my blog friends to see the beautiful Thanksgiving photos they posted. Everyone seemed to have a great holiday with their loved ones and pets.
As I was visiting the blogs, I was struck by the contrast between the very large families and the very small families. Some bloggers posted photos of a very elaborate Thanksgiving with formal china and beautiful tablescapes, and some friends had a very casual affair. There were some who ate with friends and some who were maybe eating at a hospital or nursing home with someone they love. A few folks, like my husband, son and I, went out to a favorite restaurant or resort. Sadly, I am sure there were some people who were eating a Thanksgiving dinner alone. :(
As I was looking at the different blog postings, I thought about my own history of Thanksgivings past.... I remembered my Thanksgivings with my family when I was a little girl. Each year, we would go to my grandmother and grandfather's home in Winter Haven. I thought about celebrating Thanksgiving when my children were little. I reflected on Thanksgivings spent as a big group at my parents house when they were still alive and later my Aunt's home in Kissimmmee, Florida. I thought about the times when my sister cooked Thanksgiving dinner early and had friends and family over when we lived in Houston, Texas. She was a flight attendant and had to fly on Thanksgiving Day so she made Thanksgiving dinner a few days before the actual holiday. I thought about the times that I have had Thanksgiving for the family at my house....especially in the last few years that my parents were alive. I enjoyed decorating my table with fall flowers and using the china my grandmother gave me when I was 18 years old that I have kept all these years. My parents, brother and sister-in-law, aunt and their families would join us.
After moving to Washington State, we teamed up with our friends, the Gibson family, to do a "destination Thanksgiving together." One of my favorite Thanksgivings was the one where we rented a vacation home together called the "Castle" in Arch Cape, Oregon, near Cannon Beach... We had a great time that year walking the beach exploring and making campfires on the beach in the evening together. We played games, learned to knit, read, watched movies and had a delicious Thanksgiving dinner. Everyone contributed their special dish for the dinner, and the vacation home had a table large enough to accomodate everyone in our family that attended.
For the past couple of years, my husband, son and I have celebrated Thanksgiving together at the Alderbrook Resort/Lodge which we love. You can view the photos from our Thanksgiving there in a previous posting. The Alderbrook is a beautiful place at holiday time, and we enjoy spending time there together on Thanksgiving. Since it is has just been the three of us for Thanksgiving over the past couple of years, it has been more intimate but nonetheless.....very special and filled with love and gratitude for all the blessings in our lives.
As I am reflecting on the many variations of Thanksgiving and seeing the different sizes of families and the many ways that people celebrate, I am reminded of the ending of a movie......Mrs. Doubtfire.....where Robin Williams speaks about the many different family settings to a child. I think what made me think of this is the fact that I am very aware at holiday time, that I have loved ones missing from my family. Of course, Robin Williams is speaking about the fact that the little girl's family is divorced, but I think that this applies to all of us because we all have loved ones who are not with us.....no matter whether they are far apart in distance or gone on to live in Heaven. Here are the lines from the movie.....
"Dear Mrs Doubtfiire - Two months ago my mom and dad decided to separate." "Now they live in different houses." "My brother Andrew says that we aren't a realfamily any more. Is this true?" "Did I lose my family?" "Is there anything I could do to get my parents back together?" "Sincerely, Katie McCormick." Oh, my dear Katie. You know, some parents get along much better when they don't live together. They don't fight all the time and they can become better people. Much better mommies and daddies for you. And sometimes they get back together. And sometimes they don't, dear. And if they don't, don't blame yourself. Just because they don't love each other doesn't mean that they don't love you. There are all sorts of different families, Katie. Some families have one mommy, some families have one daddy, or two families. Some children live with their uncle or aunt. Some live with their grandparents, and some children live with foster parents. Some live in separate homes and neighbourhoods in different areas of the country. They may not see each other for days, weeks, months or even years at a time. But if there's love, dear, those are the ties that bind. And you'll have a family in your heart for ever. All my love to you, poppet. You're going to be all right. Bye-bye."
The last part, where he says......"But if there's love, dear, those are the ties that bind. And you will have a family in your heart forever" really came to mind over the past couple of days that I have been catching up on the holiday postings of my blog friends. No matter how large or small your family is.....or who is missing from your celebration.....if there is love.....those are truly the ties that bind. It is not the Thanksgiving dinner or how you spend the day that matters......what matters is the love in the heart..... Those that we love are always with us and present in our hearts, and they are our blessings and truly what Thanksgiving is about. Happy upcoming holidays to each of you!
I love you! xoxo Kim