The holidays are a time to take stock of our lives and be thankful for all of our many blessings. This year, the season has also been a reminder to me of the inherent strengths that we women possess when we are able to harness the simple power of a positive attitude.
Every family faces its own battles, its own crises. Sometimes, those struggles are enough to really knock us down for the count, to bring about a negative attitude or even depression. I know I've certainly been there. Whether it's financial worries, marital issues, parenting concerns, health problems or a plethora of other difficulties knocking on our front door, our daily life struggles can be downright overwhelming.
Both sides of our family struggle with virtually all of those same issues as well. Divorce, drug addiction, Alzheimer's, financial crises, depression. Yeah, we seem to have it all covered. Yet, this past week I reveled in the fact that I smiled and laughed more than I had in quite a long time. And, for the most part, it was thanks to the women in my husband's family.
We celebrated Thanksgiving at my in-laws' home. (My family is out of state. We'll whoop it up with them for Christmas.) The entire clan was there. My husband has two older sisters, one of whom lives near us and the other flew into town with her two kids.
It's funny how the heart of a home is often times its kitchen. Perhaps this is an old fashioned attitude, but it's one that I still believe to be true, at least for my family. Whenever my husband's family is all together, we gather at my in-laws for a wonderful meal that we all contribute to. While it's being prepared, we women gather in the kitchen and tell our stories. Our stories of success, of failure, of laughter, of tears. Stories that have been told time and time again or perhaps for the first time. I guess it's a kind of oral tradition. Our 20-year old niece has been joining us in the kitchen for many years now, and our 13-year old niece chose to spend much of her time with us for the first time this year instead of playing with her little sister and my son. A woman's life lessons are passed from generation to generation, with my 78-year old mother-in-law at the helm. And as we cook, we laugh and chatter, our smiles encouraging more smiles and more laughter, lifting each other up and lighting up the room with hope and promise for the future.