The Thanksgiving Table: Look Around and Enjoy

The Thanksgiving table… the Christmas table… I am lucky enough to say that my table is always full. Every Thanksgiving and every Christmas my entire family gets together. We decorate, dress up, play music, eat, drink and eat again. It is always my favorite time of year.
As this holiday season approaches, I started thinking of our table and the chairs at the table. The Thanksgiving table has seen everyone. It has seen boyfriends and girlfriends being introduced to the family, friends that had nowhere else to go, and pregnant mamas followed by Baby’s 1st Thanksgiving.

A Thanksgiving table

These holiday chairs reflect so much change.

Every year the number we need fluctuates. Who is coming? Who invited who? Along with the exciting feeling of inviting new people to sit in those chairs and join our family comes a feeling of sadness when one of those chairs is empty.
I will never forget our 1st big family loss. My great-grandfather passed when I was in college. I was at his side when he took his last breath. Those first holidays without him were very strange. Our “core” Thanksgiving family was missing 1 and the loss was felt. Looking back, I am now 32 and we will have 4 empty chairs at our Thanksgiving this year. As the years have passed, we have lost my great-grandpa, my great-grandma, my great-uncle, and my Papa.

It’s OK to be sad.

I am writing this to say, if you have an empty chair at your Thanksgiving table this year, it is ok to be sad. I also want to say “look around.” Look at all those chairs that are full. Look at all the people filling those chairs with laughter, singing, and full bellies. It is ok to acknowledge the empty chair. We were lucky to have someone sit in it for so long. The Thanksgiving table will never be the same. But is it ever?
This holiday season I vow to look around the table. I vow to feel so blessed for those people sitting in those chairs. I vow to soak it all in and enjoy it all because next year’s table may be different. Enjoy your table. Enjoy your people. Just enjoy.