Thanksgiving is a special time of celebration with family and friends, and is perhaps my favorite holiday of the year for that very reason. It reminds us annually of the importance of “giving thanks” by gathering with loved ones, collecting food and clothing, and/or serving dinner at a food kitchen for those less fortunate than ourselves.
For some, the day after Thanksgiving – what has become known as “Black Friday” – kicks off the holiday shopping season. For others, the weekend is for indulging in watching football, parades, and halftime shows. Whatever way or combination of ways we celebrate this weekend, I am reminded that this time is about gratitude for our freedom and for abundance uniquely defined by each person or family.
When I was growing up, my grandmother “Baba” lived with us. Thanksgiving was a day for all of her children (my aunts, uncles, and cousins) to visit . . . what a celebration! Our house was filled with loved ones, food and drink, and laughter. Besides those of us watching football, others sat in the kitchen and played pinochle or gin, while the kids played board games or imaginary games in the recreation room or outdoors (Video games or cell phones did not exist then!). We spent quality time with each other, playing and having fun.
This Thanksgiving, as I recall times past, I am grateful first and foremost for my husband and son, and my parents, nieces and nephews, cousins, brothers, and sisters for their unwavering love and support throughout my life. To my friends and colleagues, thank you for sharing gifts of laughter, tears, and comradery. I am also grateful to have been a part of the APUS community of faculty, students, and staff for so many years. We have learned so much together.
Health and well-being are a gift, and for this gift, I am likewise grateful. Opportunities to learn and to grow, to embrace being a lifelong learner and a contributor to higher education are also gifts, as well as callings. I am grateful to have been called to learn and to serve in this community. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!