Thanksgiving 2003 was a memorable one for many reasons. It was our first holiday season in Arizona, far away from our large families in Utah. We moved to Mesa because Joel had started working on his doctorate at Arizona State University that fall and, as poor students, there was no way we could put together the fundage to go home for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. Christmas was a longer break, so it was the obvious choice.
Instead, my parents and my younger brother decided to come to us for Thanksgiving. We were happy to have a little bit of family around and excitedly prepared for the first Thanksgiving we would ever host. Joel made the turkey and most of the other feast items. I did all the baking of pies and also made my grandmother's traditional green jello salad. My family can't have Thanksgiving Day without it, although Joel hates it and would love to see it not make an appearance during the holidays ever again. Too bad for him, though. Tradition, you know?
Nate and my parents flew in on Thanksgiving Day, and drove up to our house just as the turkey came out of the oven. We had a lovely dinner together and spent the evening catching up and enjoying one another's company.
Later that night, Bria (age 3) came down with an alarmingly high fever. I don't have all of my facts straight in my head anymore, but I remember going to the emergency room with her and waiting several hours to see a doctor, only to be told nothing. I remember we took her to the pediatrician a few days later since she was still refusing to eat or drink and was completely lethargic. Sometime in there my mom came down with the same bug, and it hit her hard. We were able to take her to the urgent care and get her something to take. Chloe (8 months) and I also got pretty sick, although neither of us were as bad off as Bria or Mamah.
The rest of our Thanksgiving weekend, which I had so looked forward to, was ruined. We spent it in bed, watching tv and worrying about Bria who was always asleep on the bed near us. As I look back on it now, I have to giggle a little at our pathetic state, but at the time it was certainly no laughing matter!
That year, I was more grateful than ever for family. I missed them fiercely at our dinner that night and was so happy to have three of them there with us. I realized how thankful I should be for my own little family, whom I saw daily and maybe took for granted. I knew my kids would grow up faster than I could imagine and that I needed to make the most of my time with them. I also contemplated more on our (generally) good health as we struggled with the nasty flu bug. I was feeling blessed that we didn't have significant health problems that would interfere with living our day-to-day lives.
I am still grateful for family and for health. They are two blessings that many people aren't lucky enough to have. After thinking about it some, I have realized that all the money in the world can't make up for the lack of wonderful parents, siblings, spouses and children. Nor can it make up for the lack of health. I am rich, indeed--it just took several hundred miles and the family flu to help me realize it!
Written for Scribbit's November Write-Away contest.