So I know this is a bit late, but I had a busy holiday. Lot’s of baking and traveling. It really was a wonderful Thanksgiving.
So Thanksgiving is hands down my favorite holiday. I love the excuse to just hang out with your family and eat all day long. (If you’re lucky and you don’t have to work on Friday it’s literally a 4 day staycation holiday – my absolute favorite kind).
My last several Thanksgivings have been underwhelming. When I was out of the country it just wasn’t the same. As much as I tried to make it like home, it’s just different when you aren’t around family. I am usually particularly bummed out because I’m extremely close to my immediate family and due to the fact that I move everywhere, I don’t really get the opportunity to see them on my favorite holiday – Christmas usually wins out.
This year was particularly awesome. While I still didn’t get to see my immediate family, I was around family that really made me feel like I was part of a big group again. A huge shout out to my cousin for hosting. It really was special and finally brought back all the memories I had with my family when we celebrate Thanksgiving. It really put me into the holiday spirit which I am so excited about! My grandmother was even there which made it extra special.
This experience made me realize what I was really truly thankful for this year and that is family. I had some major realizations and new appreciations when it came to family this year and while I am always thankful for family, I’m starting to see family is different lights as well.
Of course I’m thankful for my immediate family. My mother, father and brother are absolutely everything to me. I wouldn’t be who I am or where I am without them. The three of them are the biggest influences in my life and that won’t ever change. My immediate family also got a little bit of an expansion a little over a year ago. My brother started his own little family recently when he started dating someone with her own kids (from this point in time know as Fairy Princess and Spiderman if I ever talk about them again in the future).
What a change for our family. We haven’t really had kids around regularly since our Aunt and Uncle lived close by with their kids. I couldn’t be more thankful for the change. They bring so much light and joy into our lives. Now… they also bring hustle, bustle and chaos to our lives as well, but in a really good way. It keeps us on our toes.
I also feel like I’ve gained a sister. I’ve had a few friends throughout my life that have become the sisters I never had, but it’s rare for me to find that kind of friendship and doesn’t happen often, so of course I’m beyond thankful that I’ve found that in my brother’s girlfriend. She genuinely wants to be part of the family and have us as a part of her life as well. It’s so wonderful because it allows our family to stay close and continue to support each other like we do so well.
Spiderman, Fairy Princess and their mom have been an incredible addition to our family in the last year and I am so thankful they’ve joined us. I can’t wait to take our first official vacation this Christmas with all of us. It’s going to be a blast!
This past year I have also managed to get back in contact with family I’ve lost touch with since we moved away to Kansas all those years ago. Before Facebook connected you with the world.
I am so thankful for this. It’s more important than you know to be in contact with family especially when you don’t live close to your immediate one. It’s been really awesome to reconnect with my cousin. We were inseparable when we were younger. Then we reached that really awkward age where one is in middle school while the other is in high school so we began to lose touch and finally in the end, I moved away which meant we didn’t keep in contact at all. We were kids. How were we supposed to know we should be keeping in touch?
Well since I moved back to the east coast and discovered that she now only lives 2 hours from me, we are back to keeping in touch often and seeing each other when we can, which I can honestly say has been awesome for me. I really needed someone I could talk to no matter what the subject and have a friend to listen – you can’t really do that with just anybody – and cousins are the best for that! So I’m thankful to have some family back in my life and close by that I didn’t have there previously.
Finally I’m thankful for the ability to also choose family. I know, this sounds a bit weird but stay with me. I have a lot of family in my life that just flat out don’t make the effort. I try to keep in touch, plan things, talk on the phone, even send a quick text, but no answer or response. Now I also have others (not family) in my life that put in 110% worth of effort into their relationship with me which brought me to a pretty big realization in the last year…
I don’t have to continue to put in effort if I’m not getting anything in return. Even if they are my family. It’s not worth it. It’s not worth the way it makes you feel. It’s not worth the wasted time and it’s not worth your effort. Just because they are family, doesn’t mean they are the best people… and that’s okay.
Now this doesn’t mean that it warrants an excuse to go out of your way not to keep in touch with them, but it also doesn’t mean you need to go out of your way for them either. Do what you can, when you can if the situation calls for it, but remember that it’s okay to say “no” even though they are family. If they aren’t actively putting effort into their relationship with you, don’t be afraid to tell them that it just isn’t going to work out this time if you can’t or don’t want to. Yes they are family, but your time is also valuable and they need to understand that. It’s okay to put more effort into the relationships in your life that put as much effort into them as you do.
I have a lot of people in my life that are not blood related that I would consider more family to me than some of the family members I have. I still love my family, but the family I am choosing is the family I want to put effort into and I am extremely thankful for that.
What are you thankful for this year?