In the US we celebrate Thanksgiving today. It is probably my favorite holiday. For me it is a chance to take a little time away from the normal activities of the year and appreciate family and friends. No pressures of exchanging gifts. No timeline to be on. I love everyone coming together in the kitchen to help cook, and share stories with one another. I love sitting around the table together. I love falling asleep watching football and cozying up with my kids. I don't love washing the dishes afterwards, but we have even managed to make that fun by incorporating a 'dish clean-up dance party'. Yes it is easily one of my favorite holidays.
But like anything that is good, we often rush it and move on to the next. The buying season is already upon us for the next set of holidays and every year it keeps coming earlier and earlier. Lights, wreaths, holiday flavored drinks at my favorite coffee shop. We get rushed into the next thing without being able to enjoy the present. This is a theme I see in so many parts of my life - focusing on reaching the destination without taking the time to enjoy the journey. Thanksgiving is a reminder for me to hit the 'Pause' button. STOP the rush. Breathe. Look around and cherish the NOW.
Very easy to say but hard to do in practice - at least for me. One awesome tradition that we have started doing throughout the course of the year is to keep a 'Memory Jar'. It is a simple glass jar, that has a set of sticky notes set beside it. Anytime there is something that anybody wants to remember or be thankful for they can simply write it down and throw it in. I love seeing the kids write their memories down in their own handwriting, occasionally asking for help on how to spell a word, and then placing them in the jar. Pretty awesome stuff for a parent to be a part of. For me, as I write down my own memories and experiences it provides a time for me to PAUSE. A time to stop and enjoy the moment.
At the end of the year, we spend some time together as we open the jar and see what everyone as written down. Many times as we are reading the notes out loud, we have forgot that we may have even shared an experience together, which allows us to relive the memory again, together. So on this Thanksgiving day in the interest of pausing, reflecting and cherishing the moment - I am going to cheat and pull a few items out of the jar. For these things, for all the blessings contained in this jar, and for those that may not have been written down, I am thankful.
- Winning my 1st cheer competition on March 8, 2014 at St. Malachi
- Passing my swim test at camp
- My dance recital