Thanksgiving 2012 ... was spent with family.
This was the first year in nearly 17 years that I haven't cooked anything for Thanksgiving.
And it was...
Probably the most relaxing and bountiful Thanksgivings I've had.
After a fulfilling lunch, we all took a nap for a few hours, just in time to make it to Thanksgiving Dinner with their Great Grandparents from Rudy's dad's side, The Barut side. This is such a large side of the family, that to this day (nearly 20 years later) I am still trying to figure out who's who.
So, yes there was an ample amount of eating, celebrating, and a whole lot more to be thankful for.
This was also the first year I've spent Thanksgiving without my mother.
There was indeed an unexplainable emptiness I felt in my heart as I looked around and saw people with their mothers, fathers, grandparents... I looked at them and wondered if they made this Thanksgiving "count" because life, as we know it, is filled with unknown.
Although my heart continues to hurt for the loss of my mother, there is also a tranquil feeling that comes over me, being back home with my brother... as if she is constantly looking down at me and smiling. She would've wanted this, her only two children bonding with their families. With the Holiday Season just around the corner, the sadness I feel will become more apparent with each day. November was my mom's favorite month. Her birthday is this month, Thanksgiving always fell on a Thursday, her day off. So it was the one holiday I knew I'd have her home. And although her choice of feasting was "lechon" (pig) with a side of "pancit" (noodles) we always made sure we had ample amounts of food to celebrate. By Thanksgiving they always put up the giant Santa at the Ala Moana Mall, that always put a smile on her face, no matter how many times we've seen the same "Santa". Her eyes were always full of wonder this time of year. It was the season of giving.. and if you knew my mother, she was a "giver". She always "gave" more than she received. November was also the month her first grandchild was born, my first born, Caelan. I can't even explain the bond she has with this child, with his birth, she was transformed into twice the mother she was. She always says, "Caelan" was the best gift she could have for her birthday...
So on this Thanksgiving, my first without her, I remember all the things she taught me, all the things she stood for, and all the things she hoped my brother and I would be. It was a Thanksgiving, where I wasn't gonna spend it locked up in my room, rather the opposite. I was gonna make the most of the day, despite how "unfair" I felt life has been. Because through her passing, I've learned to lean on others, to open my broken heart to my husband, all of which I've never done before. I've learned that blessings come in many forms.. and maybe this trial in my life.. has only taught me to shine brighter, to have faith, to trust what cannot be seen, to live my life to the fullest, to draw closer to God, to love my husband without walls, to cherish my children and to really be present in their life, to make time for family, to open up to my brother, to live with passion, and to make each day count.
We put up our tree this weekend, and like my mother, I love this time of year.. just ask my kids, I could stare at our Christmas Lights all night. Even though I did not have a lot growing up and as a child, this time of year, was a reminder of what little we had under the tree.. it also was a reminder of how full my life was. So every year, I tell my kids story of the "empty" boxes under the tree for my brother and I.
I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving..
Although my kids seemed like they were more Thankful for the internet... I know they are Thankful for "Family".