by Vickie S. Watson, Community Relations Specialist

I remember when I was growing up, our holidays were filled with large family gatherings, more food than anyone could imagine, and lots of stories and laughter.  I remember those times fondly.  They are cherished moments – captured in time – but now a distance memory.

When my children were little, we always had to attend Thanksgiving gatherings for two sides of the family.  We could easily relate to that “stuffed” turkey before the day was over.  Whew!  But those gatherings created more fond memories – moments I hope my children will cherish as much as I do.

However, we all know, as our children grow up and move forward in their independence with their own families or other busyness of life, we do not always have the opportunity to have the entire family gathered around a table for Thanksgiving dinner.  There may be some who even have a mother, father, sister, brother, spouse or child currently serving in the military and unable to take leave to come home.  There are a multitude of reasons, sometimes, why families cannot be together for the holidays.  Whatever the reason, I know those families are all together in their hearts.

This weekend, I sat and pondered this upcoming holiday of “thankfulness,” as I prepare to make a trip to see some (not all) of my children and my grandson.  I am so thankful to have an opportunity to spend treasured time with my biggest blessing – my family.  But I am also saddened, at the same time, that I cannot have all of my children together for a Thanksgiving meal.

And, if you have read many of my previous blog posts, you know how my mind works.  One thought produces another thought, and then another, which usually lands on something related to work.  Some might wonder why that happens.  The only explanation I have is that I am a part of an agency that touches the lives of people every single day.  and they, in turn, touch our hearts.  So, you won’t be surprised to know that my thoughts turned to a story about a family who gathered in our dining room in Shepherd’s Cove a couple of years ago for a family Thanksgiving dinner.

This family, who had a loved one in Shepherd’s Cove, said they had not all been together for a Thanksgiving meal in over five years.  But on that Thanksgiving Day, their entire family gathered together and used the dining room to prepare a feast.  They were able to eat their fill, share stories, laugh…and cry…but they were together.  That is what was important in that moment.  You see, this family knew the significance of counting their blessings and living in the moment – that moment at that dinner table in that dining room – because sometimes all we have left are the moments.

As Thanksgiving approaches this week, let’s remember to count our blessings (and yes, name them one-by-one).  But more importantly, let’s live in the moment.  Savor it…cherish it!

“Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our Thanksgiving.” – W. T. Purkiser