This week of American Thanksgiving, my thoughts naturally turn to gratitude. The name of the holiday itself steers us there.
Yet the history of this holiday is fraught, as we’ve been discussing at our house. My 4th grader has been learning in school about the origins of the feast we all refer to, the one that took place between the colonists and the Wompanoag people. While there was such a feast, he’s rightly been disturbed to discover that the first “thanksgiving” was actually a celebration of the Puritans’ 1637 defeat (massacre) of the Pequot.
How to reconcile beloved family traditions with our nation’s dark history? I’ve been giving a lot of thought this week to what Mia Henry of Freedom Lifted wrote in her recent newsletter (which you can sign up for here). She wrote:
“I figured that we don’t have to buy the story of the Pilgrims to take time for gratitude. We don’t have to put up a tree and lights to embrace a feeling of hope. And we don’t have to make resolutions to take a little time to focus on renewal.”
My 2022 Gratitude List
In that spirit, I wanted to share some of the things I am grateful for, as we near the end of this not-exactly-post-pandemic-but-no-longer-in-lockdown 2022:
- Every day of good health – for myself, and my friends and loved ones.
- Every single blessed day (make that every single blessed minute) that in-person school is open.
- Teachers and school administrators who show up every day for our children.
- The care put into a smooth transition to middle school for my oldest son.
- Therapists and social workers who have held us through a pandemic and beyond.
- Every day my children return home safe and unharmed.
- Health care workers.
- Scientists who work on our vaccines.
- Compassionate employers.
- Empathetic managers.
- Culture innovators.
- Evidence of hope for democracy.
- Food, shelter, and resources.
- Purple and orange New Balance sneakers.
- Fairy hair.
- My Mindful Return team, all over the globe.
- Zoom / Teams / Google Meet technology.
- In-person gatherings.
- My book club, Hineni mom group, and FamTech Orange posse.
- Our wonderful synagogue.
- Our National Parks.
- Sunset in the Shenandoah Mountains.
- Our piano, and Scott Joplin’s Maple Leaf Rag.
- Cuddles, hugs, and snuggles from two rapidly growing boys.
- My birth and adopted families.
- A husband who makes me laugh.
- You. The readers of this blog. The Mindful Return community that keeps me writing.
May we all sit in the “both / and” of this complicated holiday. May we soak in as much calm and gratitude as our bodies will allow.
Want more practical tips on working parenthood? Check out my book, Back to Work After Baby: How to Plan and Navigate a Mindful Return from Maternity Leave