Let me first begin by saying I hate the holiday season. I truly do. And I always have. This time of year has never been a happy time for me and it has certainly never been filled with the happy happy joy joy feelings that we are "supposed" to have during this season.
But, I have gone through the motions of the holiday season for my children. While they were growing up, we sometimes spent the holidays with other members of our family or traveled to visit grandparents from time to time, but because we usually lived so far away from family, Thanksgiving and Christmas was usually a quiet affair at home.
Over the years I taught my daughters how to cook a turkey. They each learned to make deviled eggs and sweet potatos. Jaime, especially, has always loved the traditions that come during the holidays. The day after Thanksgiving our tree usually went up and the kids helped to decorate it.
Their father and I did our best to make the holidays good for them, the kids. Their father loved Christmas, as well, and insisted on buying the kids as many gifts as we possibly could. There were years when we couldn't afford much of anything, but they always got gifts from Santa.
This is the time of year when we are supposed to give thanks for our blessings -- and I have been blessed. I am grateful for my two daughters, Dani and Jaime, and for my stepdaughter, Aimee. I am grateful for the three beautiful grandchildren I have, Madison, Logan and Aiden. They are a true joy in my life. I am grateful for my sweet, kind husband, Maxx. I am grateful to have a warm home, a job, and a few friends. I also give thanks for my cats, but most especially the newest one, Raven, who is a wonderful companion to have and keeps me laughing.
My thoughts wander back to Thanksgiving 2003 in particular. It was Jeremy's last Thanksgiving and also his 22nd birthday. He was to spend the day with his dad, who had come to Houston, and I had to work. Because of this, Maxx and I did not plan anything special for Thanksgiving that year, just a quiet day at home. But Jeremy called that day and wanted to come over. The day was not going well for him.
Jeremy arrived at our house upset about something that had happened that day. I welcomed him with open arms, hugged and kissed him. Because it was too late in the day for a special birthday dinner, we had spam and potatos (comfort food for me and Maxx and what we had planned anyway).
I'll always feel bad that I didn't have something better to help Jeremy celebrate his birthday and Thanksgiving. He didn't complain, though. He was just happy to be with his mom and stepdad.
Two days later, on November 29, 2003, Maxx and I took Jeremy to Huntsville, Texas, to report for active duty.
God, I miss him. Most of all, this Thanksgiving, I am grateful to have been Jeremy's mom.