Inspired by life

How I Spend My Thanksgivings

Thanksgiving has not been a happy occasion for me since my mom past away six years ago. She loved everything about the holidays: decorating, cooking big meals, and getting together with family. After seeing multiple doctors and enduring all types of tests for almost a year, she was finally diagnosed with esophageal and stomach cancer in 2014. She was only two weeks into her treatment, when she passed away in early November of that same year.

I limped through that Thanksgiving and Christmas trying to make the holidays work for my dad and the rest of the family, but my heart wasn’t in it. Really, my heart was broken, but I endured for the next couple of years. I was just going through the motions, because the person who made the holiday’s special was no longer with us.

Then my oldest son enlisted in the military in 2017 and was stationed in Mississippi without leave for Thanksgiving. We decided to go down and visit him. That was the first Thanksgiving that I actually enjoyed. It wasn’t filled with turkey and stuffing, but instead deep fried alligator, chowder, and volcano nachos.

That next year, we did stay home for Thanksgiving, but it still wasn’t the same without my mom. The depression and lose came flooding back. That’s when my husband and I decided we were going to start our own Thanksgiving tradition of traveling during the holiday.

In 2019, we visited Universal Studio Florida and had wonderful 80 degree weather. Our Thanksgiving meal consisted of desserts at the Toothsome Chocolate Emporium. We visited the Wizardly World of Harry Potter and rode roller coaster after roller coaster. Honestly, I came home feeling energized and ready to tackle Christmas and New Years. I thought 2020 was going to be my year!

We now know that 2020 was going to be no one’s year. With COVID-19 being in the forefront, we weren’t sure if we would get to travel, especially with all the restrictions being put on by the states. However, here in our state the governor finally lifted travel advisories and quarantines for Florida just in time for us to plan our Thanksgiving getaway, but would it be safe? We had a decision to make.

There was one thing I realized after losing my mom: Life is very short even if you spend 70 years living it, so live it fully and experience as much as you can. Right before she started her cancer treatment, I asked her if she had any thing she wished to do such as a bucket list. Here’s what she said to me:

“I’ve done all that I want to do, and I’ve seen all that I wanted to see, so the answer is no. I have no bucket list left.”

Those are the words that guided me and my husband and made choosing to travel an easy decision. We want to be like my mom and check off all the items on our bucket lists. I’m not going to let COVID-19 keep me and my family from experiencing life. However, I’m going to respect it and take precautions to ensure we travel safely.

Since my husband and I were considered essential in our daytime jobs, work was nonstop for us. We both were and still are very thankful that our businesses didn’t have to shut down, especially with so many people out of work and filing for unemployment. The stress and anxiety definitely took a toll on us, so we decided a relaxing beach vacation would be exactly what was needed. I started to peruse my favorite booking site, TripAdvisor. It not only gives me information on hotels and vacation rentals but also includes the top things to do in the area. After some searching of Florida’s beaches based on reviews and weather conditions, we settled on a condo located on Marco Island.

It may look a little different than last year with the addition of social distancing, masks, and hand sanitizer, but we are both very excited to be able to continue our unconventional Thanksgiving tradition. On that note, we want to wish you all a Very Happy Thanksgiving however you decide to celebrate it!


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