I love Thanksgiving. It is by far my favorite holiday. I love the essence of it and the feelings it invokes. I enjoy making the meal knowing that family will be there to enjoy it. I like the cool crisp air and the smell of turkey and pumpkin pie and the noise of a fire lit and crackling.

This year is going to be especially extraordinary. We are taking three of our kids, a son-in-law and our grandson, piling into a rented suburban and hitting the highway, heading to Kalispell, Montana.  That in and of itself is not all that unique I guess, but the part that is going to make this exceptional  is that we are going to spend it with my parents.  See, my parents have lived in Canada for the past several years and moved to Montana about a year ago. Due to circumstances too big for a blog, I have not spent a holiday with them in almost 11 years.

The Cowboy and I drove to their beautiful new home in July of this past summer for a visit. The Cowboy wanted to meet my dad and get to know my mom and it turned out to be a wonderful and amazing visit. We had the opportunity to learn more about my Dad than I had ever known as he shared highlights of his life. He told us things he had learned as he aged and he shared times he had failed and decisions he regretted. I thought it honorable of him to share these things. Many men would hold pride in higher regard than the sharing of knowledge and hindsight. But he shared his heart as a Man who wanted to be sure his children learned from his mistakes. Mostly though, he shared how much he and my mom loved me and my family. They shared themselves deeply with the Cowboy and I and it became a trip I will never forget. .

I share this because it is Thanksgiving and there are families who will gather around tables and fires to share life and love, memories and laughter. And this year our family will share each other for the first time in much too long. My grandson will meet his great-grandparents for the first time. My four nieces will meet their five cousins and my kids will meet an uncle.

I am so anxious to help prepare a meal next to my Mom again. I’m eager to watch as my girls set the table and my son talks as a Man to his grandfather. I look forward to the fire and the smell of turkey as I awake, like I did as a young girl. I am longing to sit around a table, holding hands with the ones next to me and hear my dad pray a blessing on our feast and our family. I know through the weekend I will catch the Cowboys eye. He will look at me with love and knowing and I will understand family like I’ve always dreamed.

Yes. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. And this year may end up being my favorite one of all.