We are regularly invited to friends' of ours that are from the US and every year play hosts on Thanksgiving. As their children are one year younger than our eldest, it has been more of a playdate for him and another occasion to eat and be merry.
But this year has been filled with global events that have touched everyone's hearts and have served as a reminder of how fortunate we are, and this year we have decided to introduce Thanksgiving to our growing list of family traditions. I want to make it a point to at least once a year, as a family, stop to breathe and realise how very privileged we are and reflect on how much we take for granted in our busy lives. The uber-amazing nursery our son attended last year, the HomeGrown Eco Nursery, already covered the subject of being grateful, which was a brilliant introduction for him. But now that he is four and able to understand more of the world around him, it just seems appropriate to do something that although is not customary in either of our two home countries, we feel will help him appreciate everything including the small things.
This week during our drive to school in the mornings I have been talking to him about how fortunate he is, what other children like him do not have, and why he should be thankful for what he has. I have asked him to think of 3 things that he is grateful for and this is his list:
- Our new house (he loves our new home, to which he refers as 'the big house', versus 'the little house' aka our much beloved beachfront apartment in Dubai Marina)
- Mummy, Papa and his Little Sister (OK, we come last but at least made it into the list!)
As for me, I have by now made it into a habit to be thankful for one thing every evening before bedtime ... when I do not pass out on the couch with our post-dinner TV entertainment. With this, my list is ever so long but these are my top 3 of the moment:
- My gorgeous children. They are my absolute sunshine, well ... most of the time, and they will always be at the tip of my list. None of my two pregnancies were easy but every long minute of the bedrest, the frustration, the nervousness, the lack of normalcy were well worth it. Despite the circumstances, I did manage to feel the magic that I knew I would only be able to experience at that point in my life. And now that I have met them and am privileged enough to enjoy them every day, despite all the madness that parenthood implies, I would not change my life for a second.
- A place to call home. Not just a physical roof over our heads, but a home country/countries whose leaders (whether I/we agree with their policies or not) respect human rights and freedom. A place where we could go home to one day if we had to leave our privileged expat lives in Dubai.
- Weekends!!! They are all-in-one: small sleep-ins, morning cuddles with the entire family in our bed, long big breakfasts where we all eat from everyone else's plates, all-day PJ days a lot of the times, movie and lounging time, family lunches where mummy does not have to cook (hooray!), family pool time, sometimes entire days out of the house just running endless errands as I have hubby to help, special outings. Whatever they may turn out to be, but time to 'play' and recharge, and somehow maintain partial sanity.
So looking at my son's list and mine, I realise that there really are quite a few similarities between the two. So does this prove Maslow's theory (well, somewhat modified), or does it prove that we never really grow up?
Oh and for those of you who have decided to have a lastminute.com Thanksgiving, here is a easy-going yet delicious looking menu: mlovesm
Image source: Anthony Peoples