I’ve always had mixed feelings about Fall. On the one hand, I love the fabulous colors, the cooler temperatures, and all the pumpkins. On the other hand, Fall means the end of Summer (which always makes me sad) and it reminds me that Winter is just around the corner. And while Winter does bring beautiful snowfalls, having said that, I’ve basically covered all of Winter’s positive points.
Yet this Fall is different. This year I’ve been doing everything I can think of to embrace the season. I replaced my dying Summer flowers with mums and pansies. I’ve decorated the yard with tons of pumpkins, we’ve strung lights across our patio and we’re finally using gas fire pit I bought my husband for Christmas several years ago. When the only safe way to entertain friends and family is outdoors, it’s amazing how much effort you can put into a patio.
Luckily, Mother Nature has blessed us with unseasonably warm temperatures, allowing us to enjoy the outdoors much longer than usual. Those of us who live in the States are looking toward Thanksgiving next week, which will also be different this year. Large gatherings are out, and people are trying to find alternatives that are safe and still include those who live alone.
I’m not going to lie: there’s a part of me that is very sad about not being able to celebrate the holidays in our usual way. But if this year has taught us anything, it’s taught us the need to adapt to our surroundings, so I’ve decided that it’s time to let go of what I had hoped for and simply accept what I actually have. And I find that when I focus on the gifts that are still available, it’s easier to forget about the things that aren’t.
So this Thanksgiving, I’m going to be grateful that my husband figured out how to get the gas fire pit going again without anyone having to dial 911 (his track record on such things is spotty, to say the least). I’m grateful for all the ways that friends and family have reached out to support us as we dealt with some personal challenges in our family this past year. I’m grateful for our dog Finn’s full recovery from heart worms last summer, especially when I seen him running happily around the back yard.
I’m grateful that my mother is accepting the semi-isolation of living in a retirement center during pandemic restrictions with grace, thereby taking a whole lot of worry and stress off of my shoulders. I’m grateful that my son and daughter live nearby with their families, so that I can still see them in a time when travel can be both difficult and dangerous. I’m very grateful for the vaccines that are finally on the horizon, as that gives me hope for the future. And hope is something I simply can’t live without.
So yes, Fall and Thanksgiving are different this year, and so is the way I’m reacting to them. There is a bit of sadness and anxiety for sure, but there is also a whole lot of gratitude and many things that still bring me joy. And when I think about it, that’s not really so bad at all….