This week, I’ve been spending lots of quality time with family in Clearwater, Florida. It’s been too chilly to get in the water, but we’re still enjoying the beach! It’s funny because I actually don’t celebrate Christmas anymore and my family has started going way low-key for the holiday as well. I stopped buying and giving Christmas gifts back in 2010. No one said anything. Now, Mom says the gift is all of us being able to travel to Florida to be together.
This year, it’s me, mom and her hubby, Grama, my uncle and his girlfriend, and six of my cousins, including my younger cousin Keith Thurman, Jr. My cousin Keith is a professional boxer and we were all so proud to see him win his second televised fight on HBO against Carlos Quintana last month! But he’s still just Junior to us – still the down-to-earth, family-oriented young man he’s always been. It’s pretty amazing how well he has handled his growing fame compared to other athletes his age.
Really, my whole family has become less focused on exchanging gifts for Christmas and more on spending quality time together for the holiday. Mom found a nice 2-bedroom condo on Airbnb to rent for a week right on the beach. It’s so much better than a hotel and it fits all of us! Even my normally-aloof cousin Mike took time to be present with everyone and hang out with all of us less-cool people in his life LOL.
My favorite photo by far though, is this one of me (right) and mom (left) loving up on Grams (the lovely lady in the middle). We were all just enjoying the beach at sunset when my uncle snapped this one of us!
I haven’t eaten meat in over a year, so I was happy that Mom agreed to make more vegetarian dishes for dinner this year. Veggie stuffing, collard greens with no pork and Field Roast Celebration Roast! My uncle was kinda salty that there weren’t gonna be any giblets in his stuffing, though. I told him to just chop up some turkey and mix it in on his plate LOL. This was definitely one of the best meals of my year. All vegetarian, all delicious. And everybody was talking bad about the meatless side dishes, but they were the same ones grubbing on them when they were done! It was my first time trying the Celebration Roast (on left) and it was yummy. It’s really just a fancy vegetable loaf. Almost tasted like turkey!
For me, one of the best things about the holiday season is that for a whole week out of the year, it’s perfectly acceptable to be stuffed, lazy and tipsy all day. This year, Mom’s got us all drinking different types of Moscato and we also cracked open a bottle of Crown Royal Maple. Along with a big plate of leftovers, I’m feeling pretty good right about now LOL.
One thing I’ve noticed is that holidays with my family are much more relaxed now that I can release attachment to what they do and/or say. I accept them all as they are without internalizing anything, where before I would get irritated with certain people in close quarters easily. I don’t like everything that everyone does or says but I have learned how to connect around what we DO have in common: eating, drinking, games, movies, reminiscing over memories and FUN. I remember years in the past when we couldn’t have a nice holiday without folks getting into petty arguments. Now it’s all love. So grateful for the personal growth that’s happening in all of our lives.
Of course, things aren’t perfect, but they are GOOD. And that’s more than enough to be thankful for. Hope you’re having a fun, relaxing holiday with your family, however you celebrate!
This week has reminded me to be thankful for all the good in my life. Yes, I can always strive for better. But at the same time, I can live in gratitude for what already is.
What are you most grateful for right now?