Today is Thanksgiving Day here in Canada. It’s a statutory holiday so there is no school and no work. Most families here have a feast that includes stuffed turkey with cranberry sauce and also pumpkin pie. My family usually just stays home on this day and I prepare a special meal. We’re not really fans of turkey and pumpkin pie. So instead of turkey I bought a whole roasted barbeque chicken from Superstore. I also made chicken macaroni salad and Jell-O with orange juice and diced apples. (Click for Jell-O recipe here.)
Usually my younger kids would bring home turkey paper cut outs with strips of paper for the wings where they would write down the things that they were thankful for. Last year, Ryland wrote this.
“I am thankful for…
– the food
– my bed
– my eyesight
– that I get a lot of love”
You can read more about this in this post.
Last Friday, he brought home this turkey cut out and this card.
This is the first time I heard of Martin Frobisher. I knew there is some historical event related to the Thanksgiving celebration here in Canada but never bothered to learn what it was until today. I once again found myself googling how it all started.
According to Wikipedia…
“The history of Thanksgiving in Canada goes back to an English explorer, Martin Frobisher, who had been trying to find a northern passage to the Orient. He did not succeed but he did establish a settlement in Canada. In the year 1578, he held a formal ceremony, in what is now the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, to give thanks for surviving the long journey. This is considered the first Canadian Thanksgiving, and the first Thanksgiving to have taken place in North America. Other settlers arrived and continued these ceremonies. Frobisher was later knighted and had an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean in northern Canada named after him – Frobisher Bay.”
And then later on the French settlers who also crossed the ocean and arrived in Canada celebrated with huge feasts of thanks. So did the citizens of Halifax after The Seven Years War and the American refugees who were exiled and came to Canada brought their customs and practices of Thanksgiving here.
“Finally, on January 31st, 1957, the Canadian Parliament proclaimed…A Day of General Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed … to be observed on the 2nd Monday in October.”
I think Thanksgiving has been set aside so that we could reflect on the things that we are thankful for.
These past few days, I was thinking of something to write for this day. I wanted to write a post about the things that I am thankful for. But it had not been easy because I had been kind of down lately. Once in a while I’d get into this phase where I’d feel alone and lonely in certain relationships in my life – when I’d feel that nobody understands what I’m going through.
And the weather has been kind of depressing too. We’ve seen glimpses of the sun but it has been generally cloudy, windy, cold and gloomy. The wind has blown off much of the leaves on the trees. The pretty leaves that you saw in the pictures in my previous posts are now on the ground.
Then there was this episode on Oprah last week where she had on three suicide survivors. A teen-aged girl who laid herself on the train tracks, a teen-aged boy who shot himself in the face and a mom who was experiencing post-partum depression tried to jump off a bridge. When I watched that I was like, “Oh my God!” I was just at a bridge a few weeks ago taking a picture of the river for a post that I am writing.
But please don’t get me wrong. I wouldn’t jump off a bridge. I have been through many trials in my life ever since I was a small child but I never thought nor attempted to end my life. I wasn’t going to post this because I didn’t want people to think that I would ever think of suicide. Oh no. Yes I do get kind of depressed at times but I just love life so much that I just want to go on living even through the tough times.
The reason I am sharing this is because I received an email from a cousin in Manila this weekend. I wrote her to greet her because it was her birthday. She replied and asked me to tell my mother to call hers (my aunt) because a distant relative is sick. And then she ended her email with this:
“Hope you pray for me. I’m stressed and depressed because of many problems at work and my life. Please assist mama in case I won’t be here any more to help her and my son.”
My mother called my aunt and she learned that my cousin is nowhere to be found and she isn’t answering her text messages. My aunt is worried about her. We are too.
Just as the three survivors on that Oprah show are thankful that they are still alive and realize that dark days will get better, I hope my cousin will to. And as I step back today and reflect on these past few days trying to find to write about what I am thankful for, I end this post with what I wrote for Thanksgiving last year. These are still the things that I am thankful for.
“I am constantly amazed at how my children pick up the little things that I say or teach them. I always try to instill in them that they should be thankful for the things that they have.
I, myself, used to fret about things. Like the time I contacted my high school classmates in 2002. I was jealous of their jobs especially this one classmate who is a successful CPA (Certified Public Accountant). I was a CPA back home but I wasn’t able to pursue the career when I migrated to Canada. On the other hand, this classmate, who longs to be married and have kids, was envious of me. I then realized that I have a decent job as a benefits examiner, a comfortable life with my husband and these three wonderful children and I wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world.
In spite of this realization, I still find myself complaining and fretting. About people getting promoted at work and how I am stuck in my position because I chose to work at home. But of course I don’t regret choosing to work at home because of the reasons I’ve mentioned here and in Confessions of a Work-At-Home Mom.
Every now and then, I complain about my twin size bed. About how small it is and how I am always at the edge because my husband hogs the bed. Until I realized that he just wants to be closer to me and there I am trying to distance myself just so that I could get enough sleep (wink). How lucky am I that I sleep with someone who loves me. Some people don’t. How lucky am I that I have a soft (even though it’s creaky) and warm bed. Many people who have been hit by the hurricanes don’t have a bed to sleep on or a roof over their head.”
Once again, I thank Ryland for reminding me of all the things I should be thankful for.