I was at the grocery store today and I felt strangely out of place. Everyone was dashing around filling carts and checking off lists. I, on the other hand, had three items. No family gathering for me this year. No table full of cranberry sauce or giant turkeys cooked upside down which is a Brye tradition stumbled upon by mistake. No marathon pumpkin pie baking followed by marathon pumpkin pie eating.
Before you think I have gone on strike for the holiday the answer is quite simple. When no one can come home for the holiday momma must go to where someone (anyone) is. That is my strategy this year to cope with the empty house blues. I will be heading out to meet my Navy son in one of his ports of call. It will be a different kind of Thanksgiving, but a time to be thankful just the same. Because at the end of the day it is not the turkey or the pie. It is the people. If I have to have my time with my people one by one, I will take whatever I can get.
Five years ago, I was spending Thanksgiving in Kabul, Afghanistan. My husband had managed to fly in turkeys from Germany. Afghan customs did not understand what these giant chickens were, but he talked them into letting these strange birds into the country. We scraped together the makings of a feast and listed what we were grateful for. It was the first time I did not have at least one of my children with me for the holiday. And although we had turkey and pie it was just not enough. I needed my babies-my people-to be with me. Now as the years have gone by the tables have been reversed. They are the ones serving in difficult places and I am the one with heat and football games and all the comforts of home. I still need my people but the reality is that it does not have to be on a certain day. We will make a holiday whenever we can be together.
So in the spirit of Semper Gumby I will give thanks that everyone is safe and has a place to celebrate this week. And I will count my blessings that I am able to travel and spend some quality time with my boy-and that I am staying on my diet this week. There will be no pie where I am heading.
I hope that wherever you and your loved ones are that you take some time to focus on what you are grateful for. If you are not together, remember you are bound together in spirit no matter where you are on this planet. And thank goodness pumpkin pie filling comes in a can so you can make it the next time you are together-even if it is June.