Being a Filipino, Thanksgiving, the holiday didn’t mean anything to me. It’s a holiday I know of for American friends and of course my immediate family, who also happen to be Americans, too. As for me, I have to be honest that I only care about the Black Friday sales and Cyber Monday deals.
This 2016 was the year I got my first taste of Thanksgiving Turkey and Cranberry. It was the first time I’ve actually attended a family event wherein we all sat in a circle, pronounced things we were grateful for, thanked each other for each other’s presence in our lives, the love, the effort. You know, just like in a Hallmark movie. I thought I had seen it all.
You see, I grew up in a family that didn’t show much affection. When my friends and I played those 36 Questions Game for Dates, I realize how many of us in traditional Filipino families who grow up never showing affection for their parents / children. I never said I love you to my mom until she was thousands of miles away and even then I only do it on emails. I’ve seen the grittier side of life so this was all new to me.
I needed this. When I was packing for what would appear to be a 3-day trip to the US, I felt like I was missing out on a lot of errands at work and at home. My boss was kind enough to tell me not to feel guilty about this trip, money can be earned but sanity and family time cannot be. Now that I’m on a plane somewhere over Atlanta, I begin to realize how precious it is. Family time and THIS ME time I have right now. The problem with ME time though is I end up introspecting a lot and my thoughts sometimes become too heavy for my own good. I hate it when I suddenly burst into tears while waiting for a plane in the airport surrounded by clueless Japanese tourists. At the same time, I do get the time to truly process everything I have in my head that I don’t have the chance to process back home.
So I am extremely grateful for this newfound meaning of Thanksgiving. I am grateful that I have the time to just be, to go through a second chance at being and having a family that is a real one complete with traditions and Christmas songs and board games. I never got the feeling of wanting to have children when I attended my past family events until now. Maybe that’s something I will consider 😃