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Monday, December 9, 2013

Giving Thanks

I look forward to the holiday season. I love to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family and I revel in the smiles that come after someone opens a gift I gave them for Christmas. 
My father stopped us from celebrating holidays some time ago. I don't even remember exactly when, but I remember controversy between my dad and my mom's family surrounding Christmas,
My Apple Rosemary Turkey
Easter and Kwanzaa every year. When my aunts tried to give me and my siblings East
er baskets, he didn't allow us to except them because he said they purchased them after Easter, when the baskets went on sale. Sometimes I was allowed to keep the toys my extended family gave me for Christmas; that is until my father threw them away before spring the next year. 
Well, now that I have my own family, I make sure I make up for lost time. 
My first Christmas after I got my children back from foster care, was especially memorable. I couldn't afford a christmas tree so I bought a spiral "tree" made up of lights from the supermarket. I
My famous Macaroni and Cheese
spent most of December that year  checking the newspaper for community programs that were giving away presents to low income families. I made my way around to four different organization collecting wrapped boxes that said 'boy' or 'girl' so I could make the small space under our vertical light display overflow with boxes with items 
inside unknown to even me. I was determined to make my children's first christmas at home with their mother, just like the holiday episodes of popular sitcoms. And I did. The smiles on my children's faces, and the excitement in their voices, made me feel like the best mother

in the world. The effect that their response had on me the first Christmas I created for my family, motivates and will continue to motivate me every year. And yeah I know there was conflict on the first Thanksgiving day, and there's confusion about what day Christ was born on; but the tradition of cooking food, cleaning house, planning outfits, shopping for presents, and decorating a tree, all for the people that are most important to me; well.....just makes the logistics about dates and origin seem unimportant. I love to watch my children enjoy the fruits of my labor and I adore when my family wears or uses something that I gave them.  
I, pray for the Native American souls that were taken during the first Thanksgiving, just like I acknowledge the celebration of the day that Christ was born. But the most important thing to me is being able to appreciate and celebrate the holidays in my own home (and sometimes at grandmas house) surrounded by my children. And for that, I am truly grateful.