Stop and think for a moment about how Thanksgiving 2021 definitely looks different than Thanksgiving 2020 and 2019. The airports are about to be full of flights across the country for families to reunite much more so than the past two years, to be sure.
It’s not the long tables piled high with food, the music, the conversations, and getting to and from the sites of the holiday meals that make it Thanksgiving. Instead, it’s the time we can all spend together with family and friends who we may see just once a year that reunites us.
A traditional Thanksgiving meal often involves a family prayer offered to acknowledge the blessings of gathering around the table, but when it all comes down to it, it’s the time we all spend together that actually means the most to us.
In our household, our son Rowen is the primary reason that Chelsea and I are so grateful this year. In just a few months, this little man has truly turned our worlds around and every day is an entirely new world through his eyes. For so long as (younger) adults, we were always part of someone else’s considerations.
For many, this Thanksgiving will be the first major dinner without a family member or dear friend at your table. This occasion provides a time to take the first step toward healing your loss. Although you might think that mentioning your collective loss is a path towards sadness, it’s still felt by all who knew and loved them.
Instead, you have an opportunity to include the memories of that person on this occasion. What was a signature dish they might have brought for the big meal? What was their favorite food to eat at Thanksgiving? Having a photo album nearby with pictures of your loved one provides a chance to reflect on their lives and share happy memories.
Our presence this year at the holidays means so much. If you’re missing loved ones this year, consider sharing a little about who they are and what you remember about them during the holiday season as you gather for tomorrow’s celebration. Was there some funny family event that they always told a story about?
Did they have a favorite food that no one else liked? How about that fruitcake from Corsicana? Did they fall asleep right after the big meal while watching football on TV? Did your family start doing Christmas decorations that weekend after Thanksgiving? The more you tell the youngest generation about the traditions and ways of the older generations, the more closely connected to family they will ultimately feel.
What are some of your favorite holiday traditions? Perhaps this year is the right time to write down a few of your stories for generations to come to enjoy in decades long after we’re all no longer here. They don’t have to be buried in a time capsule. They can be placed in a fireproof box for safekeeping for your future grandchildren and generations who will come after you.
Wishing all of you a safe and happy Thanksgiving from our entire Callaway-Jones family team of professionals!
Cody ’02 and Chelsea ’11 Jones (and Rowen ’43, too!)
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