By: Amy Dalke
If I made a Top Ten List of the Thanksgiving memories we made this year, the first two might be:
- Our Thanksgiving dinner was spaghetti.
- Because we didn’t actually get to attend the family Thanksgiving meal…thanks to Luke’s poltergeist-style stomach bug.
Larry, Luke, and I drove to Larry’s mom’s house in Hobart, Oklahoma on Tuesday afternoon. Our plan was to have Thanksgiving in Oklahoma City on Thursday with Larry’s brother, Bill; his wife, Kay; and all our nieces and nephews.
We had been in Hobart for maybe two hours when Luke’s stomach took some kind of revenge on all of us. It was fantastic.
Then it happened again on Wednesday, where the second round occurred in the bathroom sink. (And it may have come alarmingly close to Larry’s toothbrush.) (I swear I meant to tell him before he brushed his teeth.) (I just forgot.)
Luke was technically fever-free by Thursday morning; but for the sake of not being That Mom who selfishly exposed all the other children, we sacrificed our share of pumpkin pie. (Which is a monumental forfeit in my book.)
I feel as though this somehow qualifies me for a halo. But probably not.
Truth be told, I’m not all that unselfish. Because we probably would have still made the trip, but Mom Dalke got sick as we were walking out the door. This wasn’t the way Thanksgiving was supposed to go. I know this, because I didn’t write the script this way.
Once the executive decision was made to forgo the family dinner, Larry and I went to the grocery store to see if they had a pre-cooked turkey.
They did not. So we had spaghetti. And we did not have dessert.
(Where is the thanksgiving in that?)
I’m convinced we disappointed the pilgrims and the indians. But whatever.
Instead of engaging in the much-anticipated company of family on a beautiful Thanksgiving afternoon, I sat on the couch and sulked. Because I was disappointed. And also a little anxious because of the non-progress on my Christmas shopping list. (But that’s a different story altogether.)
It was one of those days I just wanted to pout, and complain, and snap. There was even one point when Luke asked why I was so cranky. Which validated Reason #35 for my Mother of the Year award: Exhibiting Spoiled Brat-Like Behavior to My Child.
So yeah. I pretty much acted like Thanksgiving Day should take its Thankful somewhere else.
Until it dawned on me once again: the only way to get over my pity party is to be grateful.
Because the #1 way to disarm ingratitude is to purposefully number all the graces in life.
Reality is that I could have a Thanksgiving-style turkey, or pumpkin pie, any time I want; and life really isn’t all that bad.
When it all boils down to truth: complaining has no place in the heart of a believer. All we have, and all that we are is a gift from God.
Thanksgiving isn’t just a meal: it’s about giving thanks in everything. It’s not a day we celebrate once a year. It’s a way of life.
I dare say that we cannot experience the fullness of life, until we understand the gift of life itself. (And the sheer fact that life is a gift could serve as our first sign that earth is not centered around us.)
The moral of this story? It’s remarkable how quickly I can make things all about me. I can bemoan the fact that I don’t have this, and I don’t have that…and for crying out loud, that’s just not fair.
We can rant and whine about the hand dealt to us, and refuse to acknowledge the grace in each single card.
But the single best way to untangle ourselves from a half empty view to a full one, is to intentionally give thanks for All The Things.
All the moments.
All the inconveniences.
All the hard stuff.
All the good stuff.
And everything in-between.
It would have been wonderful to spend Thanksgiving with our family, but the day didn’t turn out so bad after all.
Luke was considerably shocked at how quickly my attitude turned around once I sat down to make a list of My Thankfuls.
And frankly…if that is what he remembers from this Thanksgiving Day…well…I couldn’t have planned it out any better than that.
p.s. If you have any leftover pumpkin pie, I wouldn’t turn it down. (Just saying.)