This Thanksgiving is definitely different. It's the first time I've been away from family for the Holidays, but I thought I was adjusting pretty well. I had big plans for studying today. Additionally, Jen brought a packaged Thanksgiving dinner to the law school this morning when we met to take a practice test, which was so thoughtful. I had declined two invitations for dinner, because in my mind if I wasn't having Thanksgiving with family I didn't really see the point in having it anywhere. I don't mean that to sound as depressing as it does. I know I had options, but I was okay declining them. But that's what made Jen's gesture so thoughtful. It was the perfect substitute.
After a morning of studying I came home, played with Zipsie and spent some time online before I was going to start studying again (even though my dad informed me it was "sacrilege" to be studying on Thanksgiving). However, I got a line from You've Got Mail stuck in my head ("Happy Thanksgiving back"), and I wanted to watch the whole movie. Only problem is I don't own it. I ran to Walmart, but apparently they don't sell it.
On the drive back to my apartment I started to notice how full everyone's driveways seemed. It was the first twinge I'd felt about missing Thanksgiving. I got home and I was lacking motivation to study as I allowed myself to continue thinking about everyone that was enjoying the holiday with loved ones. I reminded myself that I'd had those opportunities and had chosen to make other plans.
Then I got a phone call from a number I didn't have in my contacts, so I let it go to voicemail. Turns out it was my Bishop, inviting me over for Thanksgiving. (I had accidentally mentioned to a member of our Relief Society presidency that my plans for the night included studying at my apartment.) I called him back and at first declined the invitation as I'd done with others. But he was persuasive.
I didn't realize how badly I wanted to be a part of a normal family Thanksgiving until I arrived at his house. It was a relaxed atmosphere, and my Bishop and his family were so welcoming and hospitable. There were several visitors for dinner, and I think we all felt right at home. We had a great meal, shared things we were grateful for, and followed up with board games and card games and (my favorite) Scrabble games.
This post isn't at all what I had originally planned. I was going to simply list some of the many things I'm grateful for, but I think it's appropriate to end by saying that missing my family today reminded me of how grateful I am for them. But beyond that, I'm so grateful for a family in Omaha that took me and others in this Thanksgiving. That gave us a family outside our own. That exhibited the feeling of love and service that should accompany the Holidays.
I'm grateful for the friends I've made in Omaha. I still marvel at the sequence of events that brought me to this area of the country. When I'm being honest, I know there is only one viable explanation: God loves me. How thankful I am that He does. How happy I am that despite my constant prayers, I didn't get accepted to Penn State. How proud I am to be wearing another shade of blue in this phase of my life. Somehow, on the first day of orientation I sat directly behind three boys, roommates, that were BYU grads. Oh, and one of them happened to be the Bishop's son. And at that exact same time, unbeknownst to me, Kate was sitting somewhere behind me meeting Jen. Then we divided into small sections and Kate and I were the only girls in ours, so we paired off immediately. And at that exact same time, Jen was in a different small section meeting Toby. And now these six people make up my study group, members of my ward, fellow BYU football fans, and my friends. And I can't adequately explain how grateful I am for them.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.