Keeping families connected across hallways, miles and milestones

Friendsgiving and Receiving Thanks

After spending nearly more than a decade far from family for Thanksgiving, I would have expected myself to have attended more “friends”givings.


I helped host one in college…although, I do have to admit some of my soon to be in-laws did share it with us.  And I had my second friendsgiving this past weekend.  Since technically it was a week early, it was instead referred to as fakes-giving.


But most of my Thanksgivings have been spent with my soon-to-be husband, then husband and then children.  No extended family.  No friends.

Thanksgiving 2007a


I wish we had hosted more Friendsgivings.  The “fakes”giving we attended this past weekend was wonderful.  I had been looking forward to it for weeks and I loved getting together with friends, sharing a feast and playing games.  Twice this week, I have forgotten that Thanksgiving has indeed not passed already.  A big shout-out to my friends for their Fakesgiving.


But more than wishing we had hosted more (a lot more) Friendsgivings, I would like to be be able to say I was a better friend.  I would like to be a better friend.


And this year, I need to make it a priority.


Growing up, my parents had wonderful friends that we saw frequently and over the years have gone above and beyond for each other.  My dad’s best friend went so far as hand-building a beautiful wooden cremation box when asked of him.  The man who made this cremation box for my father’s remains, told such a beautiful story about the tears he shed for his friend, my dad, as he was building it.

Handmade Cremation Box


I want to be thanked for being an amazing friend.  A recent post, But What Do You Want to be Thanked For? over at becoming minimalist was such a timely read for me.   As I read the title my initial thought was that I wanted to be thanked more by my family for sending cards and thanked by my immediate family for making dinner nearly every day of the year.


As I read further though, the post was so thought provoking and true.  Asking what you want to be thanked for can transcend nearly every moment of every day.


I want to be thanked for being there.  Being present at dinner, being present on a phone call, being known that I am a friend you can count on for love & support.


I have many friends, both here and across the country.  Yet I seem to find it difficult to fill in the emergency contact person for my child’s school.


Let me explain.  I do have friends I could use as emergency contacts but many of our friends are not transplants like us.  They have at least one family member or more living nearby.  Their emergency contact has been predetermined.  We moved to the Pacific Northwest fifteen years ago.  We had no family here.  We simply graduated, hung up a map of Washington and started applying for jobs.  The first person with a job was were we moved.


Us not having family here to fall back on for emergencies or rides to the airport or date nights is difficult.  I feel like I am the friend that is always needing something when I long to be the friend needed.  Even if that’s just a ride to the airport.   I need to feel less guilty about asking for help from my friends and I need to be more proactive in reaching out and providing love, support and a listening ear to my friends.


I want to be the friend you ask to build your loved ones final resting place.

Game Night Friends


So what I am doing today that I would want to be thanked for?


Do I want to be thanked for making dinner and doing the laundry or do I want to be thanked for being there?


I want to be thanked for being there for my friends and my family.  Which means making it a priority to mindfully think about how exactly I will work towards being the friend, daughter, mom, and spouse that I would like to be thanked for.


Changing the atmosphere surrounding yourself is not always easy, it has to be intentional on a daily basis.  Making the choice to go back to the what I like to call my “yoga-calm” voice with my kids rather than my enraged mom voice when we are running late.  Creating opportunities with my spouse where we can both be present and express our love in the love language each needs.  Reaching out to ask how friends or loved ones how they are doing or to simply tell them they are appreciated during this season of gratitude and all year long.  Asking, offering and accepting help can be challenging and extremely gratifying.  Let’s choose to do it more often!


At our Thanksgiving Dinner this year after we dress for dinner, take our yearly photo and share what we are grateful for, I will also being asking my family what they would like to be thanked for.


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Circle Cut Out Amanda

 I am a lover of campfires and road trips, long summer days spent outdoors and long winter nights reading by the fire. I blog about living far from family and ways to keep connected. And on an given day, I may regret living far from family while also being thankful for where I am.  Find out more!
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