It’s Canadian Thanksgiving today. It’s a holiday that is not based on religion, so virtually all immigrants to Canada adopt it and make it a family event in their unique way.
I grew up in a busy, active, crazy, loud Greek family. Lots of yelling, fighting, laughing, playing, teasing. At times when I hated them all, in my miserable teens, I would swear that I would grow up and have my own family so I could do it right. And I often promised myself that I would make it my mission to teach my children to say ‘I love you.’ We didn’t hear those words much, even if the emotion was implied.
Fast forward a couple of decades. Two of my siblings are married, with two children each. From the moment the first niece was born, we couldn’t contain our overwhelming urge to say ‘I love you’ to her every ten seconds. This must have been the most-loved child in the world. There was no discussion about it, no group counseling, just the evolution of a family.
I was reminded of this history as I witnessed the third of the nieces say good-bye to my aunt tonight. She doesn’t see my aunt very much – just during holidays and at birthday parties. But this four-year-old angel stopped her bopping around, looked at my aunt and exuberantly declared “Good-bye! I love you! Happy Thanksgiving!” My brother-in-law and I exchanged surprised glances. His little angel is sometimes either shy or cranky and avoids people she doesn’t know well. Hearing her be so lovingly expressive was a nice step in her own evolution.
My reasons for being thankful should fill a library. But I’ll share one: I am most thankful for the organic progression of the soul…the quiet growth that happens in the background… and the positive effect it has in surprising ways. My nieces and nephew seem more enlightened (and a ton smarter) than we were at their age, and I think the rest of us progressing was a ‘caught learning’ for them. The collective consciousness of our family has produced children who say “I love you” before it is said to them. I think that’s fantastic. And I think in an indirect way, my teen mission was accomplished today.
Happy Thanksgiving to all.