This Thanksgiving

Can you feel it?

What…might you wonder?

The holidays are officially here!

You’ll have to excuse my over-the-top delight, but this year the holidays have taken on a whole new role in my life. While most are dreading the holiday season…the overspending, the congested traffic jams, the over-indulging of food, the holiday commercials and the annoyance of spending time with relatives you would not normally wish to be around…I, on the other hand, am welcoming it all with wide open arms.

You have to remember, we spent the last three years in Costa Rica where holidays were celebrated (although just us Gringos had Thanksgiving dinner), but it just never felt the same. I was lucky to have my parents to share the holidays with (which unfortunately meant Rob did not), but even then something felt off. It could have been the fact that we were still working at the recovery retreat on those days and while many guests turned out to be close friends, it was still work nonetheless. I remember the first Thanksgiving dinner as expats, I felt so cool because we were celebrating with people from all over the world. Guests of my parents B & B, our guests from the retreat and new-found international friends, but after three years, celebrating with complete strangers just didn’t feel right. I selfishly wanted my family all to myself.

If you haven’t been able to tell, I’m a sentimental and sometimes overly sensitive (yes…I admit now Steve!) soul. I like family, togetherness and traditions. So in Costa Rica, I felt myself longing for that normalcy once again. I wished for the days of having Thanksgiving dinners at my parents house in Michigan. Helping Steve with the savory dishes and my mom with the sweet, over-stuffing our faces with amazing food, laughing with the family (my God do I miss my grandparents) and then laying around like glutenous pigs. On Christmas, we would go to my Grandma Ruth’s for blueberry pancakes, we would house hop to open presents and if a Lord of the Rings movie was coming out, you could be damn sure we would be first in line to go see it. I know life is too short to live in the past and I fully realize I am an adult now which is why making the decision to move back to the States was that much easier. While I would miss my parents, I needed to start new traditions for my own daughter and quite honestly…for myself. I know traditions can be made anywhere because it’s what you make of them, but the truth is Costa Rica never really felt like home. People think I’m crazy for saying I would rather live in the middle of Indiana over living in beautiful Costa Rica, but damn do I feel happy and almost complete as I wish my parents were here.

I feel like this is where we belong.

This Thanksgiving I am thankful for so much in my life. In fact, my heart is overflowing with thanks and gratitude.

Here is my list in no particular order….

Rob and Lola
My parents, sister, nieces, nephews, in-laws, cousins, aunts and uncles
My close friends (you all know who you are)
Lola’s health
Lola’s team of therapists and doctors
My doggies
My job and co-workers
The roof over my head
My health as well as Rob’s
VIPS-Bloomington and especially Ann Hughes
This blog and all of you amazing readers
Other bloggers and their stories
Weird, I know, but all of my vegetarian food options
Oddly enough, social networking as it has enabled me to connect with people I probably would have never crossed paths with.
Kindness of others
My gym and my drive to get healthy
The adventure in Costa Rica and the ability to move back to the U.S.
All that I have learned about myself as an individual, as a wife and as a mother.
Staying grounded and remaining humble
The holidays!!

Do you know what you are thankful for? Write a list every year and keep it some place safe so you can go back and relive where you were at that point in your life. See how the list changes over the years and see what stays the same.

Tomorrow Rob, Lola and I are going to a friend’s house for a big Turkey Day dinner. I am making my favorites…stuffing and apple pie! We plan on eating lots of food, playing board games, watching bad movies (thank you Seth) and just enjoying the time we have together. I have been anxiously counting down the days until we can put up our Christmas decorations and we agreed Saturday would be that day! It’s about time as I already have most of my Christmas shopping done and presents wrapped. I made Lola listen to Christmas music with me the other night as I happily wrapped gifts. I think Rob originally thought I was losing my mind in pre-holiday cheer, but I think he secretly likes he has found someone so domestic and family-oriented…at least he better because I’m loving the domestic goddess I am quickly transforming into!

What are your plans for Thanksgiving?