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What Thanksgiving is All About

I figured out at an early age what Thanksgiving is all about.

When I was growing up, Thanksgiving was just another day of the year. My single mom, who worked as an educational assistant for special needs children, couldn’t afford the turkey and all the trimmings. Still, we would sit down at noon with my grandparents for a nice meal, good company, delightful conversation and lots of love.

It wasn’t until I was 8 years old that I experienced my first traditional Thanksgiving. That's when I was invited to join the Garcia family for dinner. I played almost every day with the Garcia children, so I was thrilled by the invitation, though I had no idea what to expect.

It was something right out of a Norman Rockwell painting.

Honestly, I don’t remember much about the meal itself. I’m sure we had all the traditional menu items – turkey, stuffing, maybe cranberry sauce, probably a pumpkin or apple pie. What I do remember was how welcome the family made me feel. At one point, they all went around the table and expressed gratitude, including how happy they were that I was a part of their lives.

The funny thing was that my family had expressed the same sentiment about the Garcia children earlier that day as we sat around our table.  

Like I said, I don’t remember much more about that first Thanksgiving, other than it was lovely, I felt loved, and I was thrilled to be back with my own family later that evening.

At the age of 8, I figured out what Thanksgiving is really about. It’s not the food or the time off (though that is nice!) It’s about the people we love, the people we surround ourselves with, our family, our friends.

If you take a minute to watch this video of families enjoying a traditional Thanksgiving meal hosted by La Mesa Elementary School, you’ll see that those families have figured it out, too. No matter what hardships we may face, we are thankful for those who love us, and for those we love.

In my case, that includes my Albuquerque Public Schools family. I am grateful for you. And I wish you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving.




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