For me, each year revolves around the fourth Thursday in November. Thanksgiving remains my New Year’s Eve, my Christmas, my Hallmark moment. From the four corners of the earth, members of my family gather at my parent’s home in Fort Lauderdale for the festive meal– but it’s more than just a plate full of turkey and a side of dressing.

For my family, Thanksgiving provides us the perfect opportunity for a homecoming. In my childhood, the majority of us lived in just one state– generally at most a few hundred miles from each other. In today’s world, we find ourselves spread over the many continents. Each November, we gather in Fort Lauderdale with no plans whatsoever. There’s no agenda, no itinerary, no master plan. In fact, only a Thursday dinner remains certain.

We come together because we’re family. We call those who could not make the trip and remember those who are no longer with us. We laugh, argue, share stories, catch up, smile, and eat. Actually, we eat too much, but we eat and we eat well. Oh do we eat.

Most importantly, we never forget why we travel. We never forget why we’ve gathered. We never forget the reason for the trek that brings us together. After all, this day we come together to give thanks.

Some of us struggle to keep food on the table, to pay the rent, to keep on the lights, to keep hope for the future. Some of us struggle to keep clean, to keep away from temptation, to keep the family together, to keep sane. Some of us struggle to keep afloat, to stay above water, stay positive, stay focused. Others enjoy the fruits of our labor, the riches of our success, the results of hard work.

Whatever our station in life, we remain alive. Family reminds us that life is not lived in the breaths we take, but instead by the moments and memories we make.

This year, I’m thankful for a safe move, a great start to our new business, the shoulders of my family, and the love of my wife. I’m thankful for my health, a roof over my head, food on my table, and a phone that rings. Of course, as I say every year, what I’m most thankful for is you– my family. My family provides me the strength I need when times are tough and the applause I need when a job is done. My family provides me memories to make my life complete. For this, I remain, as always thankful.

Once again, I thank you for being a member of my family– and I can’t wait to do it all again next year.