Thanksgiving at the McGraws
I, for one, love calling a timeout in November so that I can not only reflect on my many blessings but also say my thank-yous. It is a very relaxed family day at the McGraws that starts around noon as people begin to arrive.
I always get up early on Thanksgiving Day and head off to play tennis. I figure I’ll get in a good work out so I can pig out without feeling too bad about it! By the time I get home, Robin has the house buzzing! She always has the house fully decorated for Christmas by Thanksgiving Day, and she will have Christmas music playing inside and out. Every television in the house will be tuned to a football game (one of my long-standing traditions). Football and Christmas music: Who could ask for more?
Robin is a superb cook who starts preparing the meal three days before Thanksgiving. I love the way the house smells when she fires up the ovens and starts getting ready. We have a pretty traditional menu with a few southern touches. I love the dressing and giblet gravy! Besides our own family we are usually joined by friends who don’t have family nearby. Can’t have our friends hanging out alone! But if you come to our house, you have to participate in a McGraw Thanksgiving tradition. We go around the table, and everyone shares about what has happened in the last year that he or she is most thankful for.
It is just kind of a ritual, and I think rituals are important especially for the kids growing up. Kids appreciate that sameness over the years, even if they don’t admit it early on. In fact, our boys are always saying, “Oh jeez, here we go!” They roll their eyes and start looking for the door! But they do it and don’t really resist much. They just like giving me some good-natured grief. They talk about their blessings. Despite the eye rolling, I can tell they’ve put some thought into what they say. Deep down, I have a feeling that this is a tradition they’ll carry on for years with their own families. And that makes me feel very proud.
I’ve been thinking about what I’ll say this Thanksgiving, and I won’t know until I say it, but as I write this I’m thinking that I’m thankful that everyone in my family has found something that they are passionate about — I think it’s so important to find something in your life to be excited and passionate about every day of your life. Whether it’s your kids, a hobby, your job, your spiritual life or even your front lawn, we are all blessed if we love our lives. So I will tell Jay that I’m so eternally thankful that he and Erica are so passionate about their baby who is on the way and that he loves his career in television production. I will tell Jordan that I’m thankful he’s about to finish college at USC and is totally devoted to pursuing his career in music. I will tell Robin how thankful I am to have the opportunity to watch her excitement about becoming a grandmother, and how proud I am about the new book she’s written and about her volunteer work with underprivileged children.
As for me, I continue to be thankful for the Dr. Phil show and the opportunity to impact people’s lives, and for The Dr. Phil Foundation and the work it’s doing. And like Robin, I’m over the moon about our grandbaby on the way; I can barely see straight! Most of all, I’m thankful that I‘ve gotten the chance to see my boys’ lives unfold — to watch them become the excellent young men they have become.
On Thursday, we will eat, watch football and listen to Christmas music, and maybe one or two us will take a little nap (not ME, of course) — and just like last year and the year before we will be together. Thank God, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Wishing each of you and your family peace and continued blessings throughout the year. I would love to hear how you will celebrate.