A Thanksgiving Lesson

Husband and I traveled to my family’s house for Thanksgiving this year. Sister K spent Thanksgiving with her boyfriend’s family and with Mom primarily bedridden right now, I wasn’t sure how the holiday was going to go. I am big on traditions- the tradition of seeing Mom in the kitchen cooking, everyone together eating, etc etc. Because of this I was honestly a little nervous about Thanksgiving. But I realized a big Thanksgiving lesson- I realized at the end of the day, the purpose of the holiday is family, not food…and it is being thankful for present moments, not past traditions.

What am I talking about?

Well this year we ordered turkey and stuffing. We also ordered pies instead of baking them. Sister K is a teacher and was able to go home on Tuesday to help Mom cook some sides in preparation for Thanksgiving. Then on Thursday I cooked a few more sides and pretty much played hostess to our small family consisting of Papa, Husband and Dad plus Mom and me. Mom wasn’t able to cook anything like she wanted but I did have her cell phone and while I was in the kitchen trying to figure out sweet potatoes I was calling her (only 2 rooms away) to figure out what to do. Going into the weekend I was quite nervous- I was going to have Husband there and combine trying to make sure he is having a good time with a new dynamic in my family, a dynamic that is constantly changing. I had already talked to him about it a lot and he was totally fine as I deep down knew he would be…he reassured me constantly going into it saying we will just go with it.

And go with it we did. I am still processing the fact that in putting away any plans or expectations and “just going with it” I had a wonderful weekend. I also had a very eye opening weekend. I realized that Thanksgiving isn’t about traditional food, cooking together or Mom being in the kitchen. Thanksgiving is about being thankful. I made myself focus on the little moments of being thankful and I am so glad I did- because it was in those little moments that I found Thanksgiving and found the things for which I am most thankful.

And my favorite moment from the weekend- it didn’t involve Thanksgiving Day at all…

It involved Mom, me and Hallmark channel movies. Saturday night Husband and Dad went to go see a “shoot ’em up guy movie” and Mom and I stayed home. We made Thanksgiving leftovers which we ate in Mom and Dad’s room and watched back to back Hallmark Christmas movies. There we were Mom in her hospital bed, me laying in Mom and Dad’s bed with my high school purple fuzzy slippers, Hallmark Christmas movies on the TV and a daughter whose eyes felt very opened to what family and holidays are all about- it was honestly one of those moments I wish I could have lived in forever.

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Hallmark Christmas movies with Mom

Did I learn a big lesson in what it means to be Thankful? Yes. Did I also learn a big lesson in the moments I am thankful for? Yes to that too. I am trying to focus on these little moments more and more…especially when I am home and especially considering Mom’s MS doesn’t seem to be getting any better. These moments are going to carry me to the next moment. These moments will get me through the tough moments. We are given these little moments to remember that this is it. This is life. It is in these moments that I find pure bliss. I am making an effort to focus on these moments more, moments that I know can’t physically last forever but moments that if I take a minute to appreciate will last forever in my mind. It is these moments that I am thankful for this Thanksgiving season.

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Bring it Aisle 17.

Also, just because I love all of you here is a picture of husband and me this Thanksgiving. After dropping off Papa on Thanksgiving evening, we headed to Target to see if there were any deals we could score and this photo-op happened. Another moment I am thankful for and want to remember forever.

What little moments did you have this Thanksgiving? Do you think sometimes there is too much emphasis on tradition and not enough emphasis on the present? I am thankful for each of you and wish each of you a wonderful holiday season. Thank you for reading and sharing while I try to navigate this new part of life. 

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Ode to The Hallmark Store

It was a rainy-ish afternoon and with not many plans I decided to conquer my usual Sunday grocery shopping on a Saturday. Next door to the grocery store is a Hallmark store and I decided to run inside to grab a card for Sister K whose birthday is on Monday. But while inside I got distracted and ended up with not just a few too many cards I didn’t need, but a nostalgic memory of Mom.

Mom loves Hallmark stores. I have distinct memories of being on summer vacation home for college with Mom and she would drive us to a Hallmark store because she had a $5 off coupon that was going to expire. We didn’t need anything in particular and didn’t have a specific occasion we were shopping for but we would wander around together. Candles…nick nacks…picture frames…funny gifts…you name it and we saw it.

Fast forward to today and Mom doesn’t drive anymore. She doesn’t leave the house too much anymore either. She still gets her Hallmark coupons but life has gotten in the way and they don’t get used like they once did. Dad tries to take Mom when they can make it but that isn’t very often. It also isn’t the same for Mom as this was her place of refuge, her place to kill time, her place to wander around and be Mom.

As I wandered around the store this afternoon I couldn’t help but think what Mom would think of the things inside. How she would stop to look at all the trinkets and treasures besides cards..she would see things she didn’t really need but buy them anyways..she would pick out surprises for Sister K and me..she would wander and shop without a purpose or a plan. The Hallmark store was her place. It still is her place but it is different.

I feel a strange pull towards this store whenever I see it. I have never lived near one and this one is so convenient. But more than being convenient it is like a big hug for me. The women inside are kind. The cards are funny. The knick knacks are cute. It’s like this magical oasis I have discovered inside of the big city I now live inside- and it’s an oasis that reminds me of the way Mom was before MS. So today when the woman asked me if I would like to sign up for a Hallmark Rewards card, I proudly said “Yes. My mom would be so proud to find out I am signing up for one right now.” As I look at my wallet with that little purple rewards card inside I can’t help but smile thinking of these memories of shopping with Mom and Hallmark and that even though life is changing, I am thankful to still have those memories.

Did your family shop at certain stores that will forever remind you of them? Do you have a favorite store that brings you a break from life when you visit it? Have you ever visited a Hallmark store?