Someone said to me today: “I bet this Thanksgiving will be special for you.” It got me thinking.
I’m pretty sure this was a reference both to my son’s first holiday season and to the fact I’m no longer using the wheelchair I affectionately named Blue Sunshine. But what this person didn’t know about me is I don’t think of Thanksgiving as all that unique.
My family story makes it nearly impossible to revel in Thanksgiving the way many Americans do. My father’s family is Eastern Cherokee and Ottawa. My mother’s family is primarily British. I remember being a first grader talking to my parents about the pilgrims and the Indians and being told that I was both.
I grew up enjoying the day off of school, and gathering with family and adopted extended family for a giant potluck supper. But we never talked about thankfulness as though it was special for the day. We were taught to be grateful for everything we had. From good weather to a good meal, being thankful is just part of being.
This Thanksgiving will be much the same for me. I will enjoy the time off. And it will be one of the 365 days this year that I am thankful for my amazingly supportive friends and family. For my partner who has been an inspiration. For the inner circle who have kept me going through the dark, scary and sad and celebrated with me as I have climbed my way out of that space. Thankful for the medical team who put me — and my family — back together. For my job, my ability to work, my health insurance. My apartment, the ability we had to move when we needed to, for being able to keep our cats. For the nourishing food we eat — and the realization that eating a whole-food, plant-based diet would be best for us. Thankful for everything that has made my recovery possible. For everything that has gotten me to where I am today and will get me where I am supposed to go. Every day.