"We’re hanging on because we know it’s coming,” my sister confided yesterday, in a conversation outlining a great deal of slogging through events I’d rate just south of mundane.
I know the feeling. At our house, we’re counting down as well. As of this posting, we’re three weeks out from our annual week of high-spirited Thanksgiving festivities: four adults, four kids, stacks of board games, countless rounds of whatever beverage your current cup is designed to hold. There are pumpkins to carve, movies to watch, and stories to tell. We’ll go through bags of flour, pounds of butter, gallons of coffee, and sinkfuls of dishes.
And did I mention the pumpkin cheesecake?
For my family, Thanksgiving week is typically the culminating event in a jam-packed season of healthy activities. In fact, it was just over a month ago that I posted right here in this forum that October was “a blockbuster hit I’ve been waiting for all year: warm fires on the patio, trips to the apple orchard, and a World Series destined to play out in the Bronx.” Back then I didn’t know I was standing on the threshold of a month we’d end up renaming “Doc-tober,” as a knee injury, impending surgery, mono, and two random viruses number among our collective family incidents. At that earlier writing, I had no idea that the handful of days we’d all be healthy enough for patio flame, it would invariably be raining. From the albeit cheerier vantage point of earlier days, I couldn’t possibly have predicted that the only offering the local orchard would have would be the cryptic message that there are “no apples this year.” And although I’m happy to report that the World Series has been playing out rather happily in the Bronx, aforementioned circumstances have caused us to sleep through a disappointing number of innings. There were some good moments, to be sure, but in general, October has simply made Thanksgiving Week live all the larger in my mind.
Anticipation is a powerful gift. It’s that little boost that keeps us going through dry spells, rough patches, and sticky spots. It’s the fuel we put in our emotional tanks on those days when we’d otherwise be running on empty. Anticipation reminds us that ordinary is just temporary, and that life is meant to be a lot fuller than our everyday schedules. And whether or not the things we anticipate unfold as we hope, in the act of looking forward to them, we have already experienced much of the pleasure.
If history is any indication, it is unlikely that our actual holiday will disappoint. But for the moment, anticipation is a gift I’m choosing to savor for the next twenty-one days.
For more stories from the bright side of life’s unexpected, head on over to Tuesdays Unwrapped, where each week is a celebration of the overlooked and underrated gifts better known as life.