Thankful for Traditions

One of my fondest memories from childhood is the preparation of homemade stuffing. My dad would put out the bread slices a day or two ahead of time to dry out. My brother and I had the task, on Thanksgiving day, of tearing the dried bread slices into small pieces. With the Macy's Thanksgiving day parade broadcasting on TV, we'd watch from the kitchen as we filled our mixing bowls with bread crumbs. An overwhelming sense of warmth and comfort comes over me when I now, as an adult, prepare the exact same recipe my father did. The smell of butter, chicken broth, onions, celery, sage, and poultry seasoning simmering on the stove brings me such feelings of peace, contentment, and love that I can't help but smile to myself.

The recipe is written on a slip of paper torn from a notepad I kept on my refrigerator for grocery lists over 15 years ago. I remember jotting the recipe down quickly as my father gave it to me over the phone the first year I had moved away from my home state of New Mexico. It may seem trivial to others, but that stuffing recipe means SO much to me. It's not the end result that makes it so special; it's the memories and the feelings my mind and body associate with it. I'm grateful to have these memories; they remind me how important traditions, family, relationships, and connection are. Every year I call my dad and ask how the stuffing preparations are coming along. I look forward to that call. Why? Stuffing is one of our connections; it's something we share. Simply put; when I make Thanksgiving stuffing, I feel love for my father.

Slow down today. Be present. Give your undivided attention to the people you are with. Truly experience the sounds, smells, and textures. Be aware of the feelings that arise in your mind and body. This is what thankfulness feels like. We long for this feeling; we seek it, we desire it, but we can only find it when we are truly present in the moment.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

What are some of your fondest Thanksgiving memories? Do you have traditions that are important to continue for yourself and/or your family?

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