Fourteen years ago today, I was newly divorced, scared and felt oh-so-alone and to be quite honest, I was feeling deeply sorry for myself.

Until this morning I had forgotten about this day when my heart was heavy and my soul was void of joy. I believe that memories come back when we are ready to hear the lessons learned. Today must be my day.

I live in one of the most beautiful small towns in the world with some of the friendliest people you could meet. My young son and I were renting a small ADU in someone’s yard.  I had completely withdrawn, not recognizing at the time what I was even doing – isolating myself due to a myriad of emotions and perceptions, one of them being that I had failed as a mother by making my choice to leave a dysfunctional marriage. I felt judged and so I withdrew.

On this particular Thanksgiving, 2001,  it was a beautiful day, much like today is. Even though I wasn’t  feeling at all happy this Thanksgiving, it was my intention to make sure it was a special day for my son and so I set about cooking up a game hen, the perfect size “turkey”, in an attempt to not ruin his Thanksgiving as well.

The beautiful Thanksgiving Day, turned into a beautiful star filled night and I went out for a walk with my son rolling along side on his beloved scooter. As we walked and rolled along, instead of enjoying all the beauty around me; the star filled sky, the quaint Victorian Homes, my sadness grew. As I glanced (not wanting to be caught staring) through windows at the warm glow and people gathered together I felt envious of the perfect lives and families these people all had. I yearned for a cozy home, a big happy family and that same warm glow as seen from my street side vantage point. Again, I was so sad that I was ruining this tradition of Thanksgiving for my son because of a choice I had made.

This morning, fourteen years later, as I sat in my own cozy living room, curled up on the sofa with my husband, my dog and my son peacefully sleeping in his corner of our home, with the sun casting it’s warm glow, my mind began to wander back to this Thanksgiving I had long since forgotten about.

You see, I now understand that people gathered does not necessarily mean that everyone is getting along. That warm glow cast, does not necessarily mean these people have joy in their hearts and I now know that I was certainly not the only one feeling alone. Had I reached out and shared my feelings with someone, I most likely would have been sharing in Thanksgiving with one of the many people I do know in this wonderful town. And the fact is, I had not ruined my sons experience of Thanksgiving and I now know that as he rolled along on his scooter he wasn’t at all sad as his brilliant mind was too busy charting the stars and thinking of ways to optimize the speed of his scooter. He wasn’t wishing for something he didn’t have, or wanting more. He was just scooting along enjoying being with someone he loved – me!

I’m also reminded that dreams do come true, but not always exactly as we have dreamed them. Fourteen years ago, I thought my dream was to have a house full of people, scurrying about busily making pumpkin pie. Today our Thanksgiving is quite different and I love it just the way it is. An entire day, with my tiny, but full-of-love family, followed by an evening at my “soul-sisters”  home with her wonderful family.  My husband is scurrying about fixing things, because that makes him happy, I’m tapping away on my laptop, because this makes me happy. And my son, well…he’s still asleep, because that makes him happy. It certainly isn’t the picture I had painted of what a “perfect” Thanksgiving “should” look like. But it’s my picture and I love it!

If I could have a conversation with that Suzy of fourteen years ago, I would have helped her find the blessings, however big or small in her life. I would have helped her see that she wasn’t being judged by others, but by herself. I would have let her know that everything is always as it should be and that all these experiences would later provide wisdom and perspective that would indeed bring joy – inward joy. The kind that you can not buy. The kind that doesn’t come from “perfect” scenes of what the holidays “should” be. But the kind of joy that comes from being happy for no reason at all.

My wish to all of you today, is to pause, count your blessings and think of what you can do differently (or exactly the same) this holiday season to enjoy this time without stress, with health and most importantly with a heart and soul that is happy – for no reason at all!

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