CHESTER: Thanksgiving tragedy to ‘Friendsgiving’ blessing

Abrielle Chester

Now that I am older and in college, my Thanksgiving tradition is drastically different from when I was younger.

The past three years, I have spent the holidays in New Orleans preparing for the annual Bayou Classic, as I was a cheerleader at the time. Here, I was able to fill the void of not being with my immediate family with my teammates. My coach made sure we were taken care of, so my holiday was filled with travel, fun activities and a nice little stipend I always used to shop on Black Friday.

Fast forward to this year. Now, this is when it gets tricky. I am finally free for the holiday and I am happy to be able to go home to my small family for the holidays, except this time there was no dinner to run home to. Work and travel trumped our gathering, and I was forced to spend the holidays alone, or so I thought.

After a brief phone conversation with my grandmother I found myself almost in tears. At this point, college graduation is approaching, stress and anxiety seem to be overwhelming me, I have not seen my family in months, and I was really looking forward to seeing them. Not to mention, the hurt I felt when I remembered I was not getting a slice of my Meme’s pecan pie.

My college friend and I (who also could not go home) decided to have a ‘Friendsgiving.’ We went to the store and got a few dishes for the feast. I purchased the food and my friend had the task of cooking it. That was our deal especially since it was just the two of us. After hearing our plans, other peers wanted to come too, offering to bring things as well.

Our little Friendsgiving dinner for two quickly turned into a true Friendsgiving.  We were able to laugh at old memories, bond over senseless YouTube videos and eat some good food.

Although it was not my ideal holiday, I could not help but be thankful! Thankful for life, health, friends, family and the realization that no more matter what situation I am in, I am still blessed. Yes, many already know thanksgiving is about giving thanks for things that we are thankful for, but do you really appreciate it?

I say all that to say, this Thanksgiving was the best so far and not because of my grandma’s fabulous cooking, or the mysterious walks with my cousin before the meal, but because I learned to stop and truly be thankful for everything good and bad.