For anyone with young kids, Thanksgiving (Canadian Thanksgiving for my American friends) ushers in an interesting time. The holidays that round out the year encourage kids to focus on more selfish pursuits – Halloween is all about “getting” treats, while Christmas is often about “getting” presents. Because of this, it is so crucial to pause at Thanksgiving to appreciate what is truly important: family, friends and health. These are not particularly straightforward concepts for children to grasp. When all is well, it can be easy to take these things for granted.
I must admit, I also regularly find myself getting wrapped up in trivial matters. In the wee hours of the morning, I’m able to justify that a myriad of things are worthy of my stress. But I recognize that I should be sleeping peacefully, comforted by the fact that my family is healthy and we are surrounded by loving and supportive friends.
This is our second year celebrating Thanksgiving at the cottage. We bought a cottage last year, and I spent much of July and August here with the kids. I love the fact that my children will grow up appreciating nature and the simple pleasures of cottage life – jumping in the lake, feeling the sunshine on their backs as they lie on the dock, and exploring new territory for their next adventure. But more than anything, I love that we are able to invite family and friends here to join us.
As I reflect on this weekend, the following things bring a smile to my face: making – and eating – delicious meals with family; talking and laughing around the dinner table; my daughter dancing with her cousins; my father playing basketball with my son; my mother and aunt playing Go Fish with the kids; my brother and sister-in-law playing Disney’s Eye Found It (with my 6’2″ brother assuming the role of Tinker Bell); my husband giving up part of his holiday weekend to coach our son play a sport that he has come to adore; and the kids jumping in the lake today (despite the fact that it is October… in Canada!).
I am truly thankful for all of these simple pleasures. And as we move on from this holiday weekend, I hope that I can find little ways to remind my children (and myself!) that these are the things that matter.