Big Families – Normal or Not?

Yesterday was my stepdad’s birthday so in typical family fashion, we had a large family dinner. As if eating three Thanksgivings plus leftovers wasn’t enough, we had to finish the holiday week with another big meal. I spent my entire week enjoying time with my many family members, but it wasn’t until I was sitting at the dining room table yesterday evening listening to the fifteen different conversations that were happening that I realized something – I wouldn’t trade my family for the world. Now, this isn’t the first time I’ve thought about this, I love my family very much. But after talking to my friends about their Thanksgiving dinners, I realized how different my family is. Most of my friends had dinner with their parents and siblings, averaging 3-5 people at the table. Mine were a little different… Thanksgiving #1 had 12 people attending, Thanksgiving #2 had 3 (okay, that one was more “normal”) and Thanksgiving #3 had 30. Oh, and we had leftovers on Friday and at least 10 people showed up. If we are counting my stepdad’s birthday dinner yesterday, we had another 12 people… If you can imagine, our table is never dull. People are constantly talking over other people, interruptions are normal in our family and so is yelling. Maybe we don’t get to have quality time with one or two people in our family very often, and maybe we don’t hear everyone speak. But that’s just how we are – we laugh big, we party big, we love big and we trust big. And like I said, I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Thanksgiving 2012

I’m sitting here in bed at my mom’s house, and I’m thinking about how much I have to be thankful for. Tonight I was able to sit with our extended family and enjoy a fabulous meal in the comfort of our home. I enjoyed good conversation with good people. I got to play cards with my Mom, brother and 72-year-old Papa who I adore. I’ve got a Bachelors degree and I’m halfway done with my Masters, I own a home, I’ve got a great job that I love in a city that I love, I have an amazing family and friends… what more could I ask more? So on this Thanksgiving those are the things I want to concentrate on. This is one of my favorite holidays for what it represents to me – a day to enjoy good food surrounded by the ones you love and those who love you, and it’s a time to truly be thankful for what we have. So much of the time is spent focusing on trying to get the things we don’t have (money, more time, happiness, love, whatever it may be), but it’s not often that we are simply grateful for what we do have. It’s the one day of the year set aside to show our appreciation and gratitude, because we all know that sometimes we get caught up in life and we forget to look at the bright side.

So today, and every day, I am thankful. I’m thankful for the opportunities I’ve had and the choices I’ve made to get me to where I am today; I’ve worked very hard to create the life I have now and will continue to do so moving forward. I’m thankful for my friends – though we may be separated by hundreds of miles at times, we are always there for each other when we need it most. I’m thankful for my family, especially my parents and grandparents who raised me and made me who I am today.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all, I hope your day was as good as mine!