Thankful…

The traditional Odom Family Thanksgiving Big Cookie

This Thanksgiving will be different.  No doubt about it.  We won’t have our usual Zuniga-Odom family gathering with too much food and the coveted big cookie.  People won’t be scattered from the kitchen to the dining room and our deck.  It will be different and I’m while I’ll miss the tradition of it all, with all our people gathered in one place, I know we are doing the right thing.  We want everyone to stay safe and covid free.  So, for me and Eddie, it will just be us, my mom and two of our grown children. 

With just the five of us, the temptation would be to just make it simple and not even make a turkey.  But I wasn’t about to let that happen!  I do love a good turkey with stuffing.  I know enjoying a traditional Thanksgiving meal and having enough for leftovers will make us all happy.  My dining room table has been set since early November and the Thankful Tree that I made with my girls several years ago is sitting prominently on the bench in the hallway.  I will miss seeing what everyone writes on their cut out leaves this year but I will encourage the five of us to fill them out.

In a year like this, it could be said that its hard to find things to be thankful for but I don’t feel that way.  Sure, this pandemic has dealt its share of blows to our family but thankfully nothing drastic and for that I am extremely grateful.

Our family’s Thankful Tree that we use every year. Family members will write what they are thankful for on a cut out leaf and pin it to the tree. I have collected these leaves for several years…

So, what am I thankful for in 2020?

  • Baby Girl Dunne – Our first grandbaby was born on Thursday, July 2, 2020.  Amelia Faith Dunne arrived at 4:44 p.m. on that day as her Pappy and Tisa (and Uncle Cody and Auntie Lem) were on the road traveling to Colorado to meet her.  How can a year be bad when the sweetest soul entered our lives?!  She has brought so much joy to our family in these past five months and just looking at a photo of my sweet baby Mela melts away any troubles I have.
  • Working with United Way of Central Alabama – This was my third year to serve as a Loaned Executive Manager and it was just what I needed.  I was feeling so helpless earlier this year and needed something where I felt I could at least help in some way.  I got to manage two teams this year too and we participated in a fundraising campaign like no other where 90% of the meetings were held virtually and our community said yes to making hope happen.
  • Retirement – Not mine, I retired in 2017 although some of my friends would question that…my husband’s retirement!  Although Eddie decided to stay on a little longer than he had planned with this job, it was only an extra two months.  Now he is tackling that long list of things around the house that he’s been anxious to get to.  Aside from the random chainsaw mishap, he has really gotten quite a lot done over the past 3 months.
  • Health – In this case, I mean that we have been covid free and I’m so, so thankful!  Eddie and I have our routine of hand sanitizing and Clorox wiping whenever we go out.  And we steer clear of crowded places, opting for dining al fresco vs. indoor whenever possible.  We just aren’t taking any changes…and we aren’t hoarding toilet paper either!
  • Family Health – I’m also grateful that my family has remained healthy this year.  Everyone has remained covid free and they’ve been able to continue in their respective jobs especially since all three of my children are in service professions.  My 82 year-old mother has been cautious and we have been extremely cautious with her too.  I’ve heard so many stories of family members being hospitalized with no visitors allowed, so I’ve stressed this to my mother so she will stay safe.  Eddie had to have overnight surgery last week and while the hospital permitted one person to be there, Eddie didn’t want me there and potentially exposed to covid.  So I stayed at home and waited for word and that was not easy.  My heart goes out to people who have been unable to be with their loved ones for extensive stays.  I cannot imagine…
  • Innovation – This may sound like a random word to throw out there but I’ve been so impressed with the innovation of businesses and nonprofits this year.  For my favorite event, Fiesta, we turned a one-day event into a 30-day online celebration and we were able to award $10K in scholarships to Hispanic students!  And my Women’s Network group (TWN), created a virtual event to fundraise for our annual Party with a Purpose.  We paid for a party pack (proceeds went to the YWCA) and picked them up a few days before the event and then joined by zoom for fun and trivia with a local radio host. 
  • Time to Reflect – This year has given me time to take long walks with my dog or just myself, sit on my deck drinking coffee or wine and somedays doing absolutely nothing.  For someone who generally has a packed calendar this has been a wonderful thing.  It has taught me to slow down.  It has let me reflect about all the things I was doing and decide what things were important and what I could let go of. 
  • Time to Plan – Now that Eddie is retired, I love that we are talking more about what comes next for us.  Where we will travel, what we will do to our house, even what television shows to binge watch together.  This is chapter three for us and we are embracing it with everything we have and I look so forward to enjoying the rest of our lives together.

I saw a quote this week on social media and I screenshot it because it resonated… “I thought 2020 would be the year I got everything I wanted.  Now I know 2020 is the year I appreciate everything I have.”  There is always something to be thankful for, no matter what the circumstances…

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