My oldest daughter had to work, so my youngest and I roasted the turkey and baked pumpkin pies. My sister and her family came over, bringing the stuffing and the au gratin potatoes. My mother brought green beans and lima beans. We opened a couple of cans of cranberry sauce, made some giblet gravy and had a royal feast! Before dinner we each took a slip of paper and wrote on it the things for which we were thankful. We placed them in a basket that my aunt had made (this is only our second Thanksgiving without her) and then we each drew out a slip of paper and read aloud what those things for which the other family members were thankful. It gave us something to focus our blessing upon before dinner.
When my oldest daughter came home from work, she debuted her first photo-journalism project for the family. She had put together a video about her life and her family. It made us all laugh and it made us all cry. We laughed at the impressions she had of all of us and we cried at the remembrances she included of family members who have already crossed over. It was a beautiful piece and accurately reflected her heart.
My niece and my youngest daughter both play violin and they put on an impromptu concert for us. It was wonderful. It may have been cold and rainy outside, but the inside of the house was warm and cozy and the inside of our hearts was warmer still. The laughter, the memories, the music, and the love were an awesome feeling.
This past year has been rough for me, as I am aware it has been for many. The economy has gotten tighter and tighter. Jobs are scarce; our country is at war (though they don’t even call it that anymore); we are constantly worrying about future terrorist attacks; children grow up too fast; and everything is more expensive. We all have to do so much more to make ends meet and people that I care for have lost their homes and in some cases even more.
I have found that with all the hardships, it is easier to spot those things for which we should be thankful for they stand out like shining pieces of gold among the trouble and hardship we face each day. I have paid my light bill and my phone bill at the last minute so many times this past year, but we have always had food on our table and a job to work so that we know there will be continued income. We have worn the same old clothes and my girls have formed a co-op of sorts with their friends whereas they pass down (or around) their clothes as they no longer fit or they are tired of them. I have been amazed by the wardrobes and varying styles that have paraded through my house. But they have been happy and they have felt so good about the methods they have found to contribute towards saving money. I have been thankful not only for the paycheck that is attached to my job, but for the people with whom I work and the job functions that keep me learning new things and keep my job interesting. I realize that with the way things are in the economy, I am fortunate to have a paycheck and that the fact that my job is something I like to do is icing on the cake. I believe that I am most thankful for my girls and the amazing, unconditional, wonderful love and encouragement they give me – their mom – when it is my job to give the love and encouragement to them. I do – or at least I try to – give them all the support, love, and encouragement they need, but I never realized that I was going to get so much back in return. And I do, every day of my life, and I do not want to even try to imagine life without them. With them, I am so fortunately, wonderfully blessed.
I know that you each have your own comparable lists of wonder for which you are thankful. I am so happy that we all have these things despite the pain, suffering, sorrow, and despair that is all around us. As long as we have these things for which we can be thankful, we will hold our heads high and forge forward, never giving up and overcoming circumstances of all difficulties.
And I am thankful for all those people I have met through the Single Parents web site at BellaOnline. I have only been out here for about 2 months and the response has been amazing. Last month alone I received more than 4,700 hits! I have received emails from single parents all over the world, thanking me for comments I have made, offering advice and encouragement, sharing their problems, and sharing their lives as only single parents can do. It takes single parents to understand the trials of other single parents. We are in a class unto ourselves. My hope is that we continue to support each other, that the flow of single parents that comes through this site will grow with time, that we will continue to develop tools that will help us all, and that the wisdom we glean from each other will be a continued blessing.
Thank you for sharing this life with me. Thank you for sharing your experiences as single parents. We are the strongest parents in the world!
Blessings to you all!
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