Thanksgiving weekend is always the turning point of the year for me - Not New Years, or Spring or even when the first school bell rings. I have always been in awe of how we could have a calm, relaxing day with family and friends and then WHAM! before you even go to bed that night, stores are opening for Black Friday! Don't get me wrong, I love the holidays as much as anyone - but I always feel like it is an elctric volt to my system the minute the gravy boat is washed and put in the cupboard.
Thanksgiving Day, for my family usually consists of schlepping down highway 5 from Northern to Southern California to be with family. The ride home is like a mass exodus of cars rushing to beat the other thousand immigrants doing the same trip. It usually rains. I always get a pinge of disappointment when I see the first car with a Christmas tree strapped to the top. It's here - with all the shopping madness, hectic holiday parties and crazy last minute stuff you think you can cram into your already overloaded life. This is when I start longing for those last lazy days of fall, when you could take the dog for a stroll and kick a few golden leaves into the air.
Yesterday, we did our usual drive home. We got a call that they were short-handed at the homeless dinner program that we volunteer for. Hubby, daughter and I went over and pitched in. I looked around at a larger than usual group. It was really cold outside, so they had come a little early to keep warm. They were pretty hungry, probably from having nice full bellies of turkey the day before. Tensions were high. Something I don't usually see.
Then it "clicked" in my little head. There was no one ther that was worried about what electronic device should be purchased for their kid, how many ornaments to put on the tree or whether or not to invite Uncle Charlie for the holidays. Keeping warm and finding their next meal is the one priority. All the decadence and madness of the season suddenly seemed so ridiculous to me.
I am not sure what lesson I should take away from this aha moment ... but it was definitely a dose of raw reality for me. Perhaps just taking time ponder, the next time I find myself forgetting what the holidays are really all about.