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Thanks For Giving: Lessons And Life
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It’s the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, so it would only seem fitting that I should pen a piece on gratitude.

That was my initial idea. Stream together a bunch of thoughts on all that I am grateful for in a way which is relatable to our readers.

It’s a long list, but sometimes life happens and it reshapes what and how I choose to share.

My duo is growing older and this is making life a bit tough for a lady who lives to hear the word ‘mommy.’ As I thought about sharing these thoughts my mind went to all the parents excited to see or have their children home for the Thanksgiving holiday.

I love this holiday, the gathering of family and of course the food (and pie).

Before diving further into this topic I’d like to expand a bit on a word I visit a bit more as of late ... ‘parents.’ As I look to friends, family and even my own little core four, I’ve come to realize more and more that the definition of this word applies to much more than it’s defined in its noun usage which states: a father or mother. That seems pretty basic.

In the day and age of blended families, grandparents and family members raising children the verb definition seems more fitting: be or act as a mother or father to (someone). Further stating “the warmth and attention that are the hallmarks of good parenting, raise, bring up, look after, take care of.”

This is what I think of when I think of what the word ‘parents’ means.

As an only child of a single mother, yes, she was my parent, but there were family members who served in equally important roles. Often filling the void and being the voice of reason (i.e.: discipline) when my mother was working.

I still recall family dinners during the Thanksgiving holiday and spending time with those family members was just as valuable and anticipated as seeing my mom. What a gift that is to be loved by so many on such a deep and selfless level.

Now as a mother or parent myself, I’m pausing a bit more during these precious moments. It’s hard, this parenting thing. Oh sure, there are lots of books we can read to help us through the varying stages, none of which can help us with the emotion we have tied to these (not so) little people.

I’m still adjusting to the size, maturity and wittiness of my duo. When the heck did this happen and how do we slow it down?

That’s my lesson this Thanksgiving, we don’t and we can’t, because just as we grew, spread our wings and broke our parents’ hearts a bit, they must too.

A pragmatic friend once shared, “it’s the cycle of life, this is our job. They aren’t possessions.” As a rationally thinking person, I get it, my heart however … Not so much.

Oh sure, of course, they’re not ‘possessions,’ but from the minute they each drew their first breath my life went on hold. Their needs came first and caring for them was and is the most important job I have ever been gifted.

So while I won’t be anticipating a car pulling into the driveway from a college student I haven’t seen in months, I recognize it’s not far off.

This Thursday, I will recognize the beauty of their growth. I will be thankful for the opportunity to serve as the steward of these two lives and I will think of many of you. The ‘parents,’ my own included, who have paved the way, felt the heartache and still live for the moments of their hugs and laughter in your home. The proverbial car pulling into the driveway bearing a family of their own or a basket of laundry.

From my small corner of the world with my core four and beautifully blended family to yours, wherever and whatever that might be, Happiest of Thanksgiving.


Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at or by calling 847-3021.