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It's about to get crazy in here.

That's what my grandson Wiley used to say when the monster truck video he was watching kicked into high gear.

It's also a good description for what will soon (Lord willing and Costco doesn't sell out of turkeys) take place in my life.

And probably in your life, too.

It's called Thanksgiving, that wonderful holiday when family and friends gather for three important reasons: (1) To give thanks for a wealth of blessings, (2) To enjoy being with those who are present and remember those who are not and (3) To stuff themselves tighter than an overstuffed turkey.

Not necessarily in that order.

It's my favorite holiday, next to Christmas, because, well, Christmas is hard to beat.

But favorite doesn't mean easiest. Easiest is probably Labor Day when all we do is take a day off from work.

There was a time in my life when Thanksgiving wasn't crazy at all. Before I became the host.

As a child, Thanksgiving took place at my grandparents' cracker box house, with their nine married daughters and more grandchildren than we could count. There were so many of us we had to eat in shifts — men first, then the kids and finally the women, who would put their feet up and eat and gossip for a while before cleaning up the mess.

All I had to do was chase my cousins around the yard and watch the boys try to kill each other with sticks. I loved it.

Then I grew up, married and had babies. But I still didn't have to host. I just drove 120 miles to my in-law's house with my husband, three kids and a store-bought pie and sat down to eat. I loved that, too.

After my first husband died of cancer, lots of things changed in my life, including holidays.

My kids, who were mostly grown, decided it was time to celebrate Thanksgiving at home.

I did most of the cooking, but nobody complained. We included longtime friends who felt like family and everyone helped. It got a bit crazy at times, with hosting and cooking and trying to figure out which end of a turkey to stuff. But I loved every crazy bit of it.

When I remarried, my new husband and I formed a blended family with our five adult children. Then things starting getting really crazy — and I don't just mean holidays.

Four of the five kids got married. We had so many big weddings my husband and I kept a separate closet for our wedding clothes. Then the kids started having babies. Eight babies in eight years.

This Thanksgiving will be a bit different. My husband and I moved recently to a much smaller place barely big enough for us, let alone, for 20. So my daughter and her husband, bless them, offered to host (and to do all the cooking!) at their home.

Our out-of-town kids will arrive various days and times. Some will stay with us, others will bed at a rental nearby.

Everyone will help, even the little people. The older kids will chase their cousins around the yard. And the babies, Bea and Jonah, will keep us laughing.

My job will change, too. Instead of wrestling a turkey, I'll simply be thankful for my ever-growing family and my ever-changing life. I will love it.

Two traditions, for me, will remain the same. I'll make a list of my blessings, all the things for which I'm thankful. The list grows longer every year.

And I'll set two tables: A long one in my daughter's dining room for all the loved ones who are with us and a longer one in my heart for those who aren't.

I'll set a place at that second table for you, too, and hope that you will set one for me.

Here's wishing you and yours your most thankful (and least crazy) Thanksgiving ever.

Sharon Randall can be reached at P.O. Box 416, Pacific Grove CA 93950 or by email at randallbay@earthlink.net.

Style on 11/26/2019

Print Headline: Thanksgiving inspires gratitude for changing lives

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