Thanksgiving is the day that kicks off the holiday season!  It is the season to be still, take stock of your life and be grateful for your family, friends, job, pets and health.  I can think back to numerous Thanksgivings spent with my immediate family growing up in Queens and Long Island, NY.  The whole family would wake up together and watch the traditional Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in our pajamas from start to finish.

I never actually attended the parade but it was just as exciting watching all the floats fly down the Manhattan streets. Also watching the musical performances by singers and Broadway dancers.  I always secretly wanted to be one of those dancers in the parade but instead my brothers had the misfortune of settling for my rendition of the most popular musicals at the time. The best part was watching Santa finally coming down the final stretch in front of Macy’s waving to all the adoring children.  I have to admit, I still get butterflies when I see that part.


After the parade, I would watch my brothers then play football while helping my mother in the kitchen prepare her famous stuffing.  She would always make her famous chili dip and the tastiest Virgin Pina Coladas.   Of course, we had traditional turkey, sweet potatoes and apple pie but in our Caribbean household, we also had Haitian patties, black mushroom rice or rice and beans, plantains and Haitian pork griot.  My mom would always make me an Italian dish, either lasagna or baked ziti because I’m part Italian at heart!  Over the last several years, I have made my penne alla vodka instead.

After my dad came home from working at the hospital, we would sit down at the table, say our prayers and then go around the table and tell each other what we were grateful for.  The rest of the day would be spent watching football, ice skating shows, or the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving Special and just talking about our lives at school or work.  I just loved that it was one of the few days during the year when everything stood still for a day and we were in the house together.


As the years go on and we all have our things going on and as the family has expanded, it is more difficult to be all together on this holiday sometimes.  Other traditions have formed like taking my daughter to the parade float inflation celebration the day before Thanksgiving, Getting a massage early on Thanksgiving Day or doing an exercise class to get the day started.  If I can’t be with my family, I have gone out to dinner with my friends or gone to church to meditate and be thankful for my blessings.  Last year during the holiday season, my cousins and I delivered breakfast to the homeless.  It felt great to care for others in a different capacity.
Three years ago, I was going through a rough chapter in my life and sometimes I felt sad and felt like I had no control over things in my life but I always remembered my family memories and kept a gratitude list in my mind to get me through each day. Three years later, I am so thankful that I was able to get through that rough chapter with the love of my family, friends, and my spirituality.


This Thanksgiving morning started with a Soul Cycle class! I didn’t expect for it to be an emotional experience but during the class, the instructor kept reminding me and others that we all may experience rough patches in our lives but in the end, incredible things do happen to us.  The small things in life do matter and add up.

She reminded me that we are all AMAZING!  As I was deep in my ride, I did feel so lucky to be present in that moment, being able to exercise, listen to the music, hear my heart pounding, and know that today I am in a better place than I was two to three years ago. I sometimes take the simple things like my health and senses for granted. I admit, I teared up during the class and thanked the instructor afterwards for reminding me again that there are GREAT things in this life! As human beings, we all want to LOVE and be loved.

So thank you to everyone in my life who has made an impact on the person I am today! I am so grateful for the good and difficult experiences in my life and the lessons I have learned on my journey. Gobble, gobble!