Imagine an old oak tree whose roots have found their way to the surface, creating a series of very intricate knots that surround the beauty they keep grounded. This tree sits alone in a park that no one seems to visit anymore. Her anxieties and depressed states are the roots in which keep her grounded. Outside, she has hair as bright as the sun, and eyes so deep that it is hard to make yourself look away; the passion she possesses flows from her to you. Everything about her is electric. Like that old tree, she radiates beauty that captivates every soul that crosses her path. Unlike the tree, you can not see the things in which hold her down-those terrible things are hidden away beneath the breathtaking body that she calls home. Throughout her life, those roots of hers keep growing, but in the end, only making her stronger. One day she stumbles across that old tree and can not help but to smile.
The sun was shining, so she closed her blinds as she swept her bangs from over her eyes; the brightness and glow was too much for her damaged soul to bear. An old and tattered floral chair, like the ones you see abandoned beside dumpsters, called itself home in the dimly lit corner of her room; she saw much beauty and history in things others only wanted out of their way. She also possessed a beauty that was often overlooked. By the chair sat a small table passed down from generations of people she would never know; old, dirty, and abused, the table beautifully held a caramel latte and an antique sea-foam green book. She adored things that others didn’t. In her over-sized sweater, her nervous hands picked at the threads as she imagined the outside world. Bright and happy, she thought, they just won’t understand; as always, she smiled shyly to herself, swept her silky hair behind her ear, and made that old chair home. Quietly sipping her coffee and taking in the dusty smell of her favorite book, she knew that things aren’t so bad after all.
As I’m sitting here with my sleeping father, the smells coming out of the kitchen are almost too much for me to bear. This Thanksgiving, it’s just my father, my mother, and myself. Although I’d prefer a full house full of those that are close to my heart, I’m thankful that I can spend this holiday with my father. Does he understand that today is a holiday? I’m not sure. I am sure that he knows how loved he is and that my mom and I are always right here.
My dad woke up in a good mood today, although he isn’t feeling the best (he’s recovering from some sort of respiratory infection). He’s always very cooperative when I give him a bath and change his bedding. If you’ve ever bathed, dressed, and changed linens on someone completely bed ridden, you know how difficult it can be. When he is able to help turn himself, it makes my job a lot easier.
He ate a good breakfast of whole wheat pita, spread with peanut butter, and a side of lightly salted tomatoes. He loves to drink milk or apple juice with his breakfast; unsweetened tea, grape juice, sugar free fruit punch, and the occasional Coke Zero are his favorites throughout the day. On rare days, he is able to give himself something to drink and feed himself small handheld snacks. I know that him being able to do something for himself makes him feel proud, so I always encourage him. If someone is able to do something for themselves, even slowly, let them. Let them hold onto what independence they have.
This Thanksgiving, I will be enjoying my meal standing by my fathers bed while I feed him. I’m thankful that my mom feels up to cooking today, as she’s been recovering from surgery. I’m thankful that I can spend this holiday with my dad, because I don’t know how many more we have together. I’m thankful to have plenty of food to eat (delicious food, at that). I’m also thankful that my mom makes sure to prepare everything vegetarian so I can enjoy it all (except the turkey, cluck cluck). Today, I am just thankful. Although, I wish I had a big loving family, I don’t; I have a small loving one that is unconditional, and they mean the world to me.
I encourage us all to focus on the positives in our life, not only today, but every day. If we focus on the negatives (which can often be overwhelming in my life), then we are only going to bring ourselves down. Find something, or someone, that gives you hope for a better tomorrow and hold onto whatever that may be. Appreciate and love the ones around you, because you never know how much a simple gesture can mean to someone. Reach out to someone and let them know that you care. Smile at a stranger. Take a deep breath and be thankful for everything that you have lost because what’s lost has given you what you have today; what we have today is the only thing that we know for sure, so be grateful. Be grateful for today and hopeful for tomorrow.