This is one of my favorite Thanksgiving stories.
Each year, my extended family gathers around the dining room table and takes turns saying what we’re thankful for. As a teenager this was SO lame and Norman Rockwell.
But now, I look forward to it almost as much as the green bean casserole.
“I’m thankful for my new job,” someone might say. “I’m thankful we’re all healthy this year” or “We are so blessed to add so and so to our family.” Insert appropriate yays and me toos.
Each person chooses something that’s different from the person before them and with each statement of thanks, we all nod and agree. It’s good to stop and call attention to our blessings!
And then we started having kids. These lists have taken an interesting turn.
On this particular Thanksgiving I’m thinking of, the candles were flickering. The china was set. Delicious, home-cooked food was already sitting on the plates. We’d made it all the way around the table and to Jackson, who was about three or four.
He’d just beat cancer. He shouldn’t even be alive and yet he’d started preschool. Our precious little blonde miracle in his good Thanksgiving clothes was the thing we were all most grateful for and it was his turn to speak.
Taking in all these amazing statements of gratitude, he was ready.
“Jackson, what are you thankful for this year?” we asked.
And he said: “I’m thankful for my wiener.”
Your Thanksgiving dinner may be eaten in a hospital room this year. It may be the first year without someone you love very much, or their health won’t allow for a “normal” holiday. It could be spent pumping every three hours and crying because your baby is in the NICU and not your arms. You might be hurriedly eating in the break room because you have to work. Or maybe this has been such a big year of change that you just want to sleep through the holidays and wake up January 2.
This is your challenge. My challenge.
Find just one blessing each day. It may be five extra minutes of sleep. (I’m totes jealous.) Finding a five dollar bill in a pair of just-washed jeans. (Look at you, lucky duck!) Free coffee. (Say what?!) A good doctor’s checkup. (Good for you!) Or remembering a funny story about wieners. (Wieners are always funny.)
But when you see that blessing, acknowledge it. The more you spend thankful, the more it infects your heart and your mind and your words.
Even if the day is so hard and your spirit is so low that it’s all you can do to get out of bed. You know those days where there seems like there’s nothing you could be thankful for…I’ll give you a freebie.
You can always be thankful Jackson has his wiener.