Each evening in November, when my children were little, we would all share three things we were thankful for that day. It was our way of embracing the spirit of the season. One year, when both my children were in college, I called them in the beginning of November and asked them to revisit this tradition via email. (They have always been tolerant of their mother’s unusual requests.) Everyone emailed three things each day to each other. It gave us a window into each other’s lives that we didn't usually get to see. I went to the computer each morning excited to see what would be revealed.
Here’s a small sample of some of our thanks.
1. Dad putting me in dance
2. The Rockies
3. Being with Freckles during her last season.
4. Putting on the winter scarf
5. A mother who wants to keep a family scattered across the country together via email
6. My new roller-blades that I got for five dollars at the thrift store
7. Playing hockey tonight
8. Blackhawks on TV
9. The smell of fall in the air
10. 70 degrees in November
11. The kids on the block
12. Billy’s stint selling Cutco – without it I would never have owned Cutco knives!
13. I actually like my classes
14. Potato leek soup in about an hour and the new potato peeler
15. Hot cider
16. Visits and scrabble with Granny
Unfortunately, family traditions can sometimes have a way of slipping through the cracks of everyday life. Thanksgiving is a day away and somehow I forgot to start the ball rolling on our three things.
I've come to learn that we don’t need to do everything the way we once did to find value in our traditions. Traditions are about connections. They can morph a little, but returning to our traditions brings us closer together. My youngest son goes to school in Denver and isn't going to make it home to Chicago this Thanksgiving. So...maybe on Thanksgiving day we’ll all Skype and share three things about Thanksgivings from the past. I know the Thanksgiving memory at the top of my list—my youngest son was born on Thanksgiving 22 years ago.
Happy thanksgiving! I'm grateful for this writing community.