Do you find yourself thinking, “I’ll finally be truly happy and content once (this one thing) happens.”
I found myself thinking that lately as I was stressing about our home selling in Tampa and then thought, wait one second. That’s ridiculous.
I thought to myself, remember when you believed true happiness would only be possible once these things happened:
- Moving closer to family
- Meeting the man of your dreams
- Getting married
- Finding the right home
- Having a baby
- Having another baby
- Traveling to Europe
There has always been something I thought that once we had it, I’d be content and happy.
What an awfully ungrateful attitude to have. When I look back on this list and see how God has fulfilled so many of his promises, it reminds me how dangerous that thinking can be.
Is there something that you are yearning for so badly, that it’s robbing you of happiness NOW?
Thanksgiving is a time where we give thanks for all we’ve been blessed with. This year, I’m going to avoid counting my blessing then wishing for more. What if today, these circumstances were all you had? What if you didn’t wish for one more thing to happen?
I think back to our Thanksgiving last year. Clint’s parents were visiting and I was stressed out about making the perfect Thanksgiving feast. I baked about 10 side dishes while his mom and dad played with Shep. I was pretty pregnant and starting to get tired, so I was probably complaining about being swollen, exhausted from work, and gaining weight. I was worried about my house being dirty, not having the sheets set up for our guests, and running around last minute for appetizers for our meal instead of greeting them when they arrived.
Like any of that actually mattered.
We didn’t know it then, but Clint’s mom was losing her battle with cancer.
She wasn’t able to eat much of what we had at that table, and only had a few sips of wine. Totally unlike her.
If I could go back to that moment now, I’d give anything and I’d be giving thanks for those memories. To have her at our table this year, laughing at how big Shep has gotten (her laugh was so loud and infectious) and cuddling big, sweet Beau (she’d probably never put him down). She would be so proud of Clint and his new job, and be so happy we’re even a little closer to them now that we’re living in Columbus (but she would have already driven up multiple times to visit and help us unpack).
Go back a couple more years, we were at Thanksgiving at my mom’s side of the family, which had been our tradition since I was born. They always had a huge gathering of 50 or more people with an endless buffet of Thanksgiving favorites, and the highlight was always being with my grandma and her brothers and sisters and hear them reminisce about their lives growing up.
I usually worried about eating too much and how I’d be able to work out the next day.
My grandma also passed away this year, and what I’d do to go back to that moment. To listen to her gentle voice tell one more story, hug her one more time. To see my grandpa hold her hand and watch her shake her head at him playfully.
If I could go back to a Thanksgiving, I wouldn’t be wishing for more. I’d give thanks in all circumstances, and for being exactly where we were. Sitting around the table, eating lots and lots of food, watching the kids throw sweet potatoes on the floor and filling our wine glasses one more time so we could sit around the table just a little longer.
So how can you really embrace the moment, forget about the chaos of our normal lives, and savor moments with friends and family this Thanksgiving? Here are the 5 things I’m going to be doing differently this year:
- Take lots of pictures. But I’m not going to worry about perfect smiles and mess-free clothes. Smiles, laughter, and happiness will do.
- Focus on other people. Some of you know how to do this better than me. But I am going to make sure I’m asking about their lives, families and jobs. Instead of jabbering about our family, which I tend to do.
- Accept the craziness. Babies will be off schedule. We will all be a little more tired than normal. We’ll have lots of dishes and lose toys and eat too much sugar. But it’s only a few days out of the year and we’ll get back to our normal lives soon enough.
- Remember your spouse. I’m sorry I even have to put this on the list, but I know for me it’s easy to forget to enjoy the moments with your husband when your busy taking care of little kids, making food, and visiting with friends and family. But these are memories you are making with them, too. Hold his hand, take pictures with just the two of you, and talk to him on the drive rather than zone out on your phone (guilty!)
- Be in the present. Forget about what’s next with the holidays and enjoy where you are in the moment. This may mean leaving your phone in the car, or choosing not to over-schedule yourselves during family visits.
This year at Thanksgiving, I refuse to talk about the Christmas shopping I need to do, the weight I want to lose, and the lengthy to-do list I have for our new home. None of that matters. All that matters and all I want to do this year is savor the memories and special moments we have together.
Happy Thanksgiving to your family from ours.