Today I celebrate Thanksgiving for the twenty-third time, once for every year I have spent living in America. I celebrated my very first Thanksgiving in Elmira, New York, when friends graciously invited the “Irish girls” from work to join their family get-together.
It was such an honor to join them around their table, to be made feel so welcome, and to give thanks on that special day, together with all Americans throughout the world.
Thanksgiving is a beautiful holiday, focusing on family and gratitude. Each year I have come to appreciate this day of thankfulness more and more. Now that I have a growing family of my own, I treasure Thanksgiving holiday chit-chat, centering on appreciation of life, love and the world around us.
Thanksgiving may kick-off the holiday season, but is truly a unique and momentous occasion for this nation. It is no blip in the calendar, no mere lull before the hectic weeks of Christmas preparation. It is a time when a nation pauses in thankful unity, joining together and demonstrating to the world that on Thanksgiving, family is the center of the American universe.
This great American family has always been inclusive of me, an immigrant. Each year I have spent here, I have received numerous invitations to join different families for Thanksgiving dinner. When I lived in New York and Florida I joined my aunts, uncles, and cousins. When living in Texas and Kentucky we celebrated with friends. Each and every year we have joined together with others in grateful appreciation.
And so I raise my glass to commend America’s wonderful, welcoming ways, and to praise her people in the words of an old Irish toast:
“Here’s to you and yours
And to mine and ours.
And if mine and ours
Ever come across to you and yours,
I hope you and yours will do
As much for mine and ours
As mine and ours have done
For you and yours!”
America – mine and ours came across to you and yours many years ago, and you and yours have truly taken care of mine and ours.
For this I am eternally grateful.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!
Slán agus beannacht,
(Goodbye and blessings)
Irish American Mom