Holiday time to count blessings

By Anita Doberman: Lifestyles Columnist

This Thanksgiving my husband will not be with us. Like countless other families whose loved ones are serving in the armed forces, we’ll do our best to keep the holiday spirit alive, and show our children that we have lots to be grateful for, despite the fact that Daddy is far away.

I am fortunate to have my dad and aunt visiting for the holiday season. I come from a large extended family, stereotypically Italian. Since their arrival, I have had delicious Italian food, exquisite wine, lots of laughter and fun. Picture the Sopranos, without the vulgar language or the violence, and you can see my family this week.

Seeing my dad and aunt has been a blessing for me and my children. My aunt re-created familiar flavors and home-cooked meals I used to love as a little girl. My children have played with their grandfather, “Nonno,” and brushed up on some Italian.

My aunt has also showed me some of the stuff I take for granted in our “new world.” She is astonished by Wal-Mart. (How can it be so big? They sell food and house appliances in the same store?) She can’t stop wondering about sizes — of cars, parking lots, homes and, at times, people. Anything is new and magnificent to her.

She has commented on how fortunate we are to have such abundance.

Her comments made me pause and think about all of the opportunities I’ve had since moving to this country. I believe the abundance my family notices is partly the result of the absolute freedom we enjoy. It’s also a consequence of the sacrifice men and women in the armed forces made for us, today and in the past.

While I would still prefer to have my husband home for Thanksgiving, I couldn’t be more proud of his choice to provide us with the liberty to enjoy this day.

I am grateful to be married to a wonderful man, husband and father. I hope that somehow our love will give him some joy this Thanksgiving.

My thoughts and prayers go out to all the families, friends and loved ones who are apart. I hope they too will find some happiness, despite the sacrifice they endure.

Next week, we’ll have a few families of deployed members at our home. It
will be interesting to see how we manage to pull together an Italian/American Thanksgiving meal for 25 people.

As my dad said, we’ll have to add a small pasta dish to the festivities.
How can we have a feast without a little pasta?