Dearest Emi and Ava,
Thanksgiving has long been a favorite holiday of ours.
It’s always been a time to come together with family and friends, enjoy each others’ company, eat some great food, and reflect on the things that we are truly thankful for.
This year is no different….but we’ll get to that in a minute.
Your mom and I decided early on in our marriage that we would always try to be around family for this holiday….and as far as I can recollect, we’ve done that every year. We’ve taken turns hosting or traveling to family’s homes for this special weekend.
We’ve always enjoyed some great eats and Thanksgiving Day football, then we’d usually begin the annual ritual of decorating our house for Christmas! 🙂
One thing neither of us liked was trying to shop on Black Friday, which has now rolled itself backwards on to Thanksgiving Day. We went a few times together and would always come home and go, “WHY did we do that? Next home we’re sleeping in!”
One of my favorite Thanksgiving’s was last year (2013) at Frank and Tina’s. It was only a handful of weeks after your mom was diagnosed, so family (on your mom’s side) rallied around and we had a grand time! There is always so much laughing and craziness, that it would probably require it’s own dedicated blog for posterity’s sake just to do it justice.
So fast forward to this year.
How much difference a single little year makes.
It’s been over 8 months since your mom went to Heaven.
I’ve been so proud of how you and your sister have handled this change in our lives. God has most certainly blessed us in an amazing and tremendous way!
It still takes me a little aback when people tell me that they “Know they holidays are going to be tough for us.” or that “They know we’re hurting and sad.” And while this is true to a degree, it’s also not. We have to respect other’s though in that they don’t always know how to approach us or what to say. So a simple, ‘thank you’ or smile usually suffices.
We resolved early this year that we were going to make our holiday’s extra special and they would be something we would LOOK FORWARD TO and not shy away from. Granted, we miss your mom. I miss your mom every day.
But the thing is, we always will. And THAT’s OK!
We will also always have sad moments. And THAT’s OK TOO!
But we can also choose how to live our lives! And we have chosen to LIVE! And honor her by living!
So, as with holiday’s past this year, we dedicated time to do something special.
Our first activity, for you two and your cousin Destiny, was to write words that reminded you of your mom on to some leaves I cut from construction paper. We then constructed a tree with all the words you all listed. I loved how you all dove right in and didn’t hesitate in coming up with such descriptive words! It was beautiful!
Once we were done, I asked you to write down 5 people that you were thankful for and to think about why you were thankful. Again, none of you hesitated. I then handed out thank you cards and you spent time writing to those people that mean the most to you.
Then we made a trip to the cemetery to spend a little time in reverence and offered up prayers of thanks for your mom.
Being that it’s Thanksgiving it is easy to reflect on those things that we appreciate, because truly truly, we have much to be thankful for. And I hope you remember this throughout your years!
Our prayers were simple, but were basically this – We are thankful that God blessed us with your mom for the amount of time that he did. We are thankful for all that she poured in to each of us. We are thankful for her example of godliness, grace, and courage. We are thankful for the experiences we had and memories we have of your mom. She was a truly special woman and we are thankful that she was such a big part of our lives.
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18
I love you!