posted by Amy

When I was a kid, Thanksgiving was one of those holidays that ranked way down low on my list; after all, I wasn't a fan of pumpkin pie or turkey, and I didn't get any presents. The grownups watched football and cooked, and I curled up in a corner with a book. Not awful, but definitely not Christmas.

These days, it's my favorite holiday, partly because it doesn't involve any presents and I've yet to have to cook the meal myself and mostly because I'm old enough now to realize how fortunate I am to have family I want to spend Thanksgiving with.

When my grandfather died in late October two years ago, that first Thanksgiving without him was healing for me. Yes, his death had left a hole in our lives, but being surrounded by the other people on this earth who had loved him the way I had made me remember that, as I had told a grief-stricken Henry just a month earlier, Grandpa Bud's love never dies; it's carried on when we love others.

So tomorrow I'll get up, do the local Thanksgiving Run to Feed the Hungry (we walk it, all five of us, very slowly), clean the kids up, and go enjoy the meal my sister-in-law is cooking, along with the company of Chip's three sisters and their families. When we're stuffed to the gills, we'll move on to Granny's house, where my kids will immediately pull a chair up to the cookie jar, just as I did when I was little, and at least half of my ten siblings, along with assorted aunts, uncles, and cousins, will be there. This year we have baby Avery Jane to welcome to the ritual orange jello with shredded carrots and other time-honored traditions.

To buy myself enough time to write this post, I sent (a bored and whiny) Henry around to ask everyone in the family what they're thankful for this year. Here are the results: Vincent is grateful for Brie cheese. Henry is thankful that he's "half boy and half monkey" and for trees and for Christmas. Josie is thankful for going to Chuck E. Cheese's today with her Aunt Meghan, her birthday, our cats Mouse and Emma, and her bike and helmet. And Chip and I have the same thought: we're just thankful for these kids and each other.