Each year, I make a Thanksgiving pilgrimage to my parent’s home in South Florida. Since I can remember, Thanksgiving has been the Holiday for my family — and when I say family, I mean the entire family. Cousins, friends, aunts, everything. My family.
I’ve been very lucky in life and have a lot to be grateful for; one of which is the continuing of this amazing tradition.
Some years, the trip seems too short. It rarely feels too long. This year, Yeni and I were able to take a few days off from the bakery and head down to South Florida for a few extra days.
I start thinking about my thanksgiving message around October… mostly just a mental outline of what I want to say. Pointless really. Every year when I sit to write the message, my mental outlines are thrown away.
I knew I wanted to speak of my grandmother. Losing her this year just shy of her 100th birthday was a very significant loss; the table will definitely feel different. I had mentioned this to Yeni and jokingly asked “Who’s going to tell me I’m fat this year?” Without skipping a beat, Yeni said “I will. Your grandmother will always speak through me.” =)
I am extremely thankful to have had almost 40 years of guidance, stories, and love from my amazing grandmother. For those that met her, you know she simply was an amazing woman.
I knew I wanted to speak about the bakery. We are in a very difficult time economically and running a bakery requires a lot of work. Very long days. We are incredibly grateful to have the doors continue to open, the phone continue to ring, and customers that allow us to help them celebrate.
We have seen many businesses — many successful businesses — close their doors. We are thankful for each and every day.
Yesterday my wife, her parents, and I went to Sawgrass Mills mall. We were surrounded by rudeness. People literally pushing Yeni out of the way, store staff making racist comments, people demonstrating greed and selfishness at every turn. It was disgusting.
It’s hard not to distance yourself from that environment. Some will say, “oh that’s just South Florida,” or “that’s just the XYZ culture.”
Here’s the deal. I’m not going to say what I feel it is. Why? Doesn’t matter.
That’s the beauty of distancing yourself from the scenario. What I know… it’s not me. It’s not my family.
It’s not how I run my business.
It’s not how I live my life.
It’s not my wife.
It’s not my family.
It’s not me.
This year, more than ever, I’m incredibly grateful to have a family filled with people I don’t need “distance.” I’m thankful to have family that I’ll drive all day to see and enjoy.
I’m thankful to have a business that welcomes all people; rather than the racists I saw yesterday.
I’m thankful to have family that fills my heart rather than the type of people yesterday that could easily break it.
I’m thankful, and continually grateful, to have an incredible family that helps and encourages me daily.
As always I didn’t say “friends.” My friends are family. Friends are the family you choose.
This year, as always, I’m thankful for you.