Colorful, feather-shaped pieces of construction paper sit on the kitchen table, along with cut-outs of turkey-shaped bodies and body parts--beak, feet, etc. My mother brings over the magic markers and we are ready to begin making our yearly Thanksgiving turkeys.
This was a tradition my mother started when I was very young, and we participated every year that I remember until I left for college. We would assemble our turkeys and then write one thing we were thankful for on each feather.
Looking back, I remember it being so simple, especially in the early years: family, friends, pets, God, food, a warm house. In high school things became a bit more theological, but yet they still flowed fairly easily off my pen: salvation, God’s mercy, spiritual mentors.
Holiday traditions like these are fun. They build memories and focus on the blessings of life; but sometimes, especially as adults, it is harder to easily list what we are thankful for. Either it seems too cliche, or we can find it difficult to be sincere about our thankfulness when perhaps times are very hard.
My Thanksgivings after high school have been much less carefree. Adult thoughts of school, jobs, finances, and traveling can weigh heavy on us even as we attempt to drum up feelings of thankfulness on its namesake holiday.