“Motherless children have a hard time,
When their mother is gone.”
– Eric Clapton

I love Thanksgiving.  And pretty much everyone I know loves Thanksgiving.  It seems to be one of those holidays that rarely generates the kind of negative reactions that other holidays such as Valentine’s Day, Halloween and Christmas can.  Maybe it’s because Thanksgiving is not as over-hyped and omnipresent.

Maybe it’s because Thanksgiving is a holiday that demands no public demonstrations of faith or commitment to be celebrated.  Or maybe it’s because Thanksgiving is a homegrown holiday to which all Americans can lay claim (assuming, of course, you’re not a Native American whose culture didn’t fare quite so well once the Pilgrims set up shop on these shores).

As for me, I think Thanksgiving has a special place in our hearts for one primary reason:  it is, at its core, a day set aside to gather as a family to honor, celebrate and give thanks for the many blessings in our lives.  There are no pressures to find just the right gift for your significant other, find just the right costume for your child or manage the overflowing parking lots and tempers at your local mall.

Nope.  None of that comes into play on the fourth Thursday in November.  All you need for a Thanksgiving your family will treasure for years to come is to gather as a family and share a meal (and maybe watch some football during the afternoon).

For that reason, of course, Thanksgiving presents its own set of issues for anyone who has lost family members.  Nearly three years ago, I became an “Adult Orphan” when my father passed away.  My mother had passed away some 10 years ago.

So while Thanksgiving is still a wonderful holiday to which I look forward, I do miss – and will always miss – my parents at the dinner table.  The logical side of me knows this is the natural order of things – “the way it’s supposed to be” – but that logical side rarely is successful at convincing the other side of me about anything.  Pathos always beats logos and ethos, hands down.

And so, I’d like to give thanks this year for all the warm memories of past Thanskgivings I’m privileged to have, and I wish you and yours a safe, restful and warm Thanksgiving holiday.