Thanksgiving is now, officially, my favorite holiday. It used to be Halloween, but over the past couple of years, I’ve changed. I love the time of the year, the bleak brown and grey landscape, the quality of the light. I love the harvest time, the concepts of feeling gratitude and giving thanks. It is a simple holiday of being appreciative and being with people you love, taking time off from your daily routine and celebrating with eating. It can get a little lost nowadays in the rush before the consumptive, expectant madness of Christmas, but it is a holiday worthy of much love, I think.
It’s my first major holiday without Miss L (I don’t count smaller holidays like Labor / Memorial Day, July 4, etc) and as such it requires an adjustment for me. I have to stay more focused on the many things that I am grateful for and be present in the moment rather than feeling sad or lonely and filling it with “I wish” and “if only” thoughts.
My boss has gone through a terrible year. We don’t always agree on everything at work and that’s okay, I still have a healthy respect for her, especially after watching her experience and process her personal tragedy. It’s odd, because I look at what she has gone through, and my own trials and tribulations seem small in comparison. Yet she seems to view me with greater kinship and compassion as well, and references, occasionally, my experience, and draws parallels about the reconstructions that have occurred in both of our lives, as if to say that we both understand things about each other that others in our department don’t. This is alternately awkward and comforting.
Today, the managers came through the halls and let people go at 3.00; I had a teleconference so I lagged behind, and ended up putting on my coat and packing up my gear when the building was all but empty, the last cars streaming out of the parking lot. As I put my scarf on, my boss came around the corner, and we stopped and chatted for a bit. At the end, we said our goodbyes and she kept going down the hall; then, a few steps away, she changed her mind about something, and turned around. She gave me a gentle hug, which is unlike her, and, smiling and looking sad at the same time, she said, “Let’s both embrace the new reality.” And nothing more needed to be said, and I started my holiday with a feeling of gratitude for that simple act of kindness.
May we all experience many simple acts of kindness, and pay them forward.
Happy Thanksgiving Eve. xoxo