Tonight is Thanksgiving eve. I love this time of year. From Halloween to Valentine’s Day is all about celebrating loved ones. While here in the US, we celebrate Halloween mostly by dressing up and going door to door begging for candy, I have always felt it was the beginning of our family celebrations. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, I love it even more than Christmas. It is not just about the eating but I have to admit, I love the turkey and all the trimmings. Forme, Thanksgiving is a time of reflection. It’s about stopping to consider what I am truly thankful for. It’s about being thankful for little things as well as the big things. I know when people look at us, they see people on the edge of middle class. We’re hardly rich yet I have so much to be thankful for. I have six amazing sons and a husband who still takes my breath away. I have lovely daughters-in-law who complete our family with their talents and kindness. Ihave a tribe of grandchildren who make me feel like a little kid again. I am blessed and so very thankful for each of these treasures. I am thankful to still have my mom, my in-laws and my aunts and uncles who are always willing to give a word of encouragement or lend a helping hand. For an only child, it is the sense of belonging that comes with my large crazy family that is more precious than money or fame. I love cooking the turkey and dressing, using my mom’s recipes. It is the one thing I like to keep traditional. I enjoy experimenting with side dishes and like to try a variety of recipes, but there should always be something with cranberry and something with sweet potato or it’s just not Thanksgiving. When I first took over the bulk of the cooking I feared not being as good as my mom and mother-in-law. Now much of the responsibility for the dinner is being passed to the next generation. Part of me is sad to pass the torch but another part is glad that I have someone willing to take up the tradition. I know the children will not do everything the same way I did. I didn’t do everything the same way my parents and in-laws did. We take a little of the past and bring it with us into the future, creating new traditions along the way. Not all of my children come home for Thanksgiving and while I miss them, I know they have to celebrate with their families, creating their own traditions as they blend what they have learned from me and what their wives bring with them, creating their own. As I try to write this blog, I am sniffling and snotting over Hallmark Christmas movies. One of the great things about sharing this holiday with my daughter-in-law is not having to be in the kitchen tonight after having a busy day at the store. Before I endthis Thanksgiving blog, I want to list a few things I’m thankful for: I’m thankfulfor loving parents, both my own and my in-laws. I’m thankful for a husband whosupports my crazy dream and pushes me towards it, for good friends whoencourage, enable and console through the many trials of becoming a publishedauthor and the days when I was just trying to survive raising six sons. I’mthankful for my sons with array of personalities and talents, for their wives/girlfriendswho put up with them, and for the beautiful grandchildren they’ve given me. Recently,a friend told me of his idea to have a community Christmas tree. He hopes tobring the community together to spread the holiday cheer. Being a part of thiscommunity is another thing I’m thankful for. It is my love of my town and thepeople in it that inspires my stories. The people here have influenced theraising of my children, helped us when we lost our home to fire, and they haveoffered us friendship and support. Happy Thanksgiving!