Thanksgiving 2020: A Holiday We Won’t Forget

This year has been rough. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it over and over again until it’s finally over. It has– by far– been one of the strangest and most difficult years for everyone I know. We’ve all had to adjust and flex and struggle our way through this. And it’s not even over yet!

We’re getting there, though, so that’s something! Maybe 2021 will be better! FINGERS CROSSED. I’m not superstitious, but I am a little bit stitious (only the best of people will get that one). So I’ll be knocking on wood and crossing my fingers and saying my prayers for the rest of the year. I don’t know how much more of this nonsense I can handle.

I hope you’ll bear with me as I steer away from my usual book review and writer musing on this special holiday. I love Thanksgiving. Holidays were hard growing up. We had a split family household, and most of my time was spent running back and forth on major holidays between my parents’ families houses, scarfing down food and scrambling to open presents and hug everyone I hadn’t seen in months. It was always “hurry, you’ve got to be at Dad’s/Mom’s by so-and-so o’clock.” I don’t blame my parents; I hold no grudges, really. It was just how it had to be, you know.

Thanksgiving was never like that, though. Most people say that Christmas is the slow holiday. You know– “You’re moving like Christmas!” Well, for me, Thanksgiving (or the week of, really) was when life really slowed down. We went to different houses, sure, but there was more time. I could sit down and really visit; I got to enjoy dinner AND dessert! No one was shoving presents in my faces. No one was rushing me. We were all so deep into a turkey-coma that life just moved in slow motion for once.

And I loved it.

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. And not just because I’m a foodie and just really love eating. I love the PREMISE of Thanksgiving. Truly enjoying each other’s company and dwelling for a day (or week!) on the things you’re thankful for. “Shouldn’t we do that all year long, Amy?” Yes! Yes, we should, but shouldn’t we also give each other small gifts throughout the year to show each other our love (Coming for you, Christmas)? YES!

This year– in true Covid-19 style– things are going to be different. We aren’t traveling to people’s houses. We aren’t hugging all our great-aunts and grandfathers; we aren’t piling into living rooms that smell like stuffing and pumpkin pies. We won’t be watching the parade with our nieces and nephews or scouring through the Wal-Mart Black Friday catalog for Christmas presents. No one will pass out on the couch thirty minutes after we’ve eaten or ask the lone single female of the family when she’s going to finally find herself a husband.

And I’m going to miss it.

I’m going to miss the boisterous laugher and the hilarious family stories (even if I hear the same one’s every year). I’m going to miss hugging my husband’s great-aunt and seeing my step-grandparents. I’m even going to miss my mother-in-law’s precious but huge dog who is always so painfully happy to see me. There’s so much I’m going to miss.

But here’s the thing: I’m not going to dwell on that.

This isn’t what I want to rant on about.

Instead, I want to redirect my attention to some things I’m thankful for. Let’s do that, okay? Some unconventional things, maybe. I’ll skip over the usual spouse-family-food-God spiel, but don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful for those things too.

  1. My students and their parents:
    I don’t tell my kids often enough how much I love them. This year is so hard. I’m a hugger by nature, and I can’t do that this year. So, having a room full of fifteen wonderful children that I love so much that I call them my kids and not being able to give each of them a hug at the end of the day is so hard. They constantly bring a smile to my face and never fail to make me laugh– even when it’s 8 am and I am a MESS. They always remind me to do attendance and apologize if they’re being a bit “too much.” They are so perceptive and forgiving and I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have them in my life.

    And I owe just how wonderful they are to their parents. Or guardians or grandparents or aunts or uncles or WHOEVER loves them from home. Whoever makes sure they come back to me the next day. Thank you for the wonderful children you’ve raised. I know it can’t have been easy. Not in this day and age. I’m a parent, too, and I know how it feels to constantly worry if you’re making the right decision or pushing them too hard or not pushing them enough or… This list could go on forever.

    As parents, you’re often asked to push yourself aside and set them first. During this pandemic, classrooms all over the world have moved to your living room. Virtual teaching is a world/challenge all its own. I know it’s a lot to ask of you, parents. Just know that I see you, I sympathize with you, and I’m here for you. I know this is so hard, and you’re doing the absolute best you can in a bad situation. We all are. Thank you so much for all that you do. I couldn’t do my job without your support.
  2. My friends
    I won’t call any of you out by name, but you’ll know who you are if you’re reading this.

    My Mother Hen: Thank you for always being a listening ear when I needed you. Quarantine has been hard on you, I know, but you’ve never turned me away when I need to talk. You have no idea how much that means to me.

    My OG: You’ve had a really hard past few months. God really ran you through the wringer. I love you. More than you can ever possibly know. I’m thankful that you’ve allowed me to support you through this hard time. Any time you need to go get some bulgogi, holler at me. You know I’m always down.

    My Long-Distance: One day, I’ll actually meet you. Until then, thank you for texting me each. and. every. day. You’re an escape. A nice little haven where I can pretend life isn’t wild. Thank you.
  3. My Job
    “Yuck, Amy. Your job? Don’t you just dread going in every single day?”

    Um, no. I’m super lucky that I get to do a thing that I LOVE every single day. Not only do I work with the best kids ever, I also get to pass on my love of the English language to a new generation. I honestly have a passion for what I do. Other than writing, I can’t see myself doing anything else.

    I’m blessed to work with the best people under the most amazing principal. If you’re reading this, JP, I can’t even begin to tell you how thankful I am for your patience. I have met some of the most wonderful people at North Elementary. Wouldn’t trade you guys for the world.

    Maybe for retirement, but definitely not the world. 😉

I hope everyone has a magnificent Thanksgiving. Be safe. Be smart. Don’t spread Covid everywhere. I’d like to NOT teach virtually for another couple of months. If you can’t see your family, call your family. It’s better than nothing.

Lots of love,
Amy.

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