As a child I wanted to be an actress or a police officer… at some point I think I wanted to be a wild cowgirl riding horses for a living. What I remember wanting the most was to be a child forever in the loving and protective arms of my parents and always tagging along with my big sister.
I was just six-years-old when my paternal grandfather died and I saw my father cry. I crawled onto his lap and cried on his shoulder telling him I never wanted to grow up if it meant losing people you loved. (Daddy called it The Peter Pan Complex) He hugged me so tight and told me that he had no regrets about growing up because it meant that he met my mom, married her, and they had my sister and me. He said that growing up was a good thing even though sometimes you might have reason to cry because I would have so many more wonderful things come my way. He told me to enjoy everything that life brought to me and to treasure every memory that came before.
Truthfully I had a fantastic childhood. We never had a lot of money, but I always felt that I had everything I could want. I remember having a terrific dollhouse and furniture — the dollhouse was a big cardboard box, the furniture was plastic throwaways from the manufacturing company where my dad worked, the window curtains were remnants of cloth left over from the school clothes my mom handmade for us, and while the dolls that “lived” there didn’t really fit, it didn’t matter, I loved it. My sister was my best friend and she let me tag along with her friends and I always had fun because everyone treated me so nicely, I was everyone's "little sister". Our parents always made time for us whether it was watching TV (in costume!) with my dad or baking cookies with my mom, and so many more things.
Both of my parents passed away shortly after I was married, so did my husband’s folks, and I cried. But I remembered my dad’s words to me and I looked forward to what the future would bring. We struggled to have children, a couple of miscarriages and then our daughter, and another miscarriage and then our son was born. As is our custom to name after the deceased, our daughter is named for my mom, and our son for my dad and my mother-in-law (a niece is named for my father-in-law). Watching our children grow to be adults has been a joy and seeing them happy with their own spouses is so fulfilling. Daddy was so right, I have so many memories to treasure and so many wonderful things that came into my life.
My mom used to make a huge Thanksgiving feast for the family, including aunts and uncles and cousins, each year and I swear I can still remember the savory smells from her tiny apartment kitchen (I marvel at how much food she was always able to cook for so many!). Life is different, the family schedules are tighter and distances are greater (and two of my four children work on Thanksgiving), so we don’t always have the same gatherings, but the sentiment is still there. This year my husband and I (we’ll be married 44-years next month) went to a grand Thanksgiving feast at our community association — our first since we moved here last December — and we enjoyed ourselves immensely.
Thanksgiving is a time of appreciation and gratitude, and I have so very much to be thankful for. I am thankful for the love of my life, the man who is a hero in every way (and yes, the man who influences my concept of every romantic hero I write about), I am so grateful for our children and their mates, and my pussycats and grand-fur-babies. I am so happy to still have my sister (who is still one of my best friends), her husband (who is more like a brother to me), and their sons and families. I am also blessed with great sister-in-laws and brother-in-laws, and nephews and nieces and their families. I'm grateful for my readers and their support.
And most of all what I am thankful are my dad’s wise words to me, to look forward to life and all the joys it can bring my way.
My wishes for all of you — have a truly wonderful and meaningful Thanksgiving.
Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving!