A year or two ago, worried about The Pumpkin taking for granted our family’s lifestyle and not appreciating what she had, we started a dinnertime tradition we called “happy thankful.” We’d go around the table and each person would have to share one thing that made them happy that day and one thing for which they were thankful that day.
Over time, we’ve gone through stretches of doing this religiously, often prompted by The Pumpkin herself, interrupted by long periods for which we set the ritual aside, intentionally or not, in the daily chaos of life. With Thanksgiving nearing again, we’ve been reminded to start again, and so, each night, as we sit down to dinner, we go around the table.
Sometimes The Pumpkin simplifies it down to who in the family she’s “happy for” and “thankful for,” and then she asks The Button who she’s happy and thankful for. Everyone laughs when she offers her own name as her answer. Even still, I think the message, the reason why we started this in the first place, is slowing sinking in.
But even if our daughters don’t yet fully comprehend the deeper meaning of why we go through this nightly ritual, it’s good for us, too. It’s good for us, as busy adults for whom it’s all too easy to get caught up in the routine of daily life, to stop and think about the moments and experiences and actions and interactions during the day that made us happy, or reminded us of our own happiness, and for which we were thankful for having. And for us to model that introspection and reflection for our daughters.
In a week full of new, exciting opportunities and experiences, I am happy to have my family by my side, and thankful for their love and presence in my life.