This is not my first Thanksgiving.
In fact, I have celebrated 22 Thanksgivings in my life.
My first, let's say, 10 Thanksgivings meant that I got to go to my Aunt's house and play with a GIANT barbie doll house with my cousins. It meant that my uncle would give me piggyback rides. It meant that I got to sit at the kids table and be curious about what the grown-ups were talking about. It meant that I got to try to sneak dessert early while my parents weren't looking. It meant that after dinner, all the grownups would fall asleep or drink wine and my cousins and I would go play outside.
My next 6 Thanksgiving carried different meaning. They meant that I would either be traveling to Wisconsin with my dad to see my extended family or I would stay home with my mom and have a quiet day with only a few relatives. This was all depended on "who got that holiday this year." It meant that I would worry about when I was going to get to see my family in Wisconsin next. It made me worry that I was missing out on something important in the location that I wasn't in. It made me feel disconnected and unhappy that I couldn't see all of the people that I loved at the same time.
The 5 Thanksgivings after that carried an even different meaning. It meant that no matter what location I chose to go to for that year, we would talk about the same basic things. What did I want to to do with my life (As if there is only one thing I want to do), how was school, why I didn't have a boyfriend yet ("don't you want to be married?") what my friends and I have been up to. It meant that I got to have even deeper connections with my uncle, while we both talked about how we were going to school to become teachers and how hard it really is. It meant great food, football, and wine (kind of like it meant at the beginning.
If I've added correctly, that totals 21 years. That takes us up to this year, my 22nd Thanksgiving.
This year, for the first time ever, I feel nothing more than extreme thankfulness for all that I have. I think I've finally grasped the concept. I am thankful for thankful for the great family God has blessed me with, even if I don't talk to most of them often. I am thankful that I have a teaching job, I have my own home (with electricity, heat, water, food, and a warm bed), I have a car (even though car payments aren't fun), I have gotten a wonderful education, I am acheiving my dreams in life. I am eternally grateful that God has provided me with a way to meet all of my needs, as well as the needs of some children of this world. I am thankful for Abu-Bakarr, Meena, and Freily Mateo. Child sponsorship has changed my outlook on life.
I am Thankful.