Michaels: Take a moment to share your appreciation for loved ones this Thanksgiving

Michaels discusses the importance of appreciating those close to you. - Graphic Editor / Julia Quennessen

As Thanksgiving rounds the corner, it gives the reminder to be thankful for all you have. It is time to take these moments to appreciate those in your life who are important to you. 

Over this past weekend, I had the lucky experience of celebrating my father’s 50th birthday. The thing is, it wasn’t for the fact that he turned 50 that it was lucky — but rather the fact that four years ago he was in a horrific motorcycle accident. With 36 broken bones, we weren’t sure if he’d make it through. After four years, he is well and better than ever. 

Fear for my father’s health was compounded by the fact that my mom suffered brain damage when I was 10 years old. With her residing in a nursing home and unable to be an active part of my life, my dad getting into this accident meant there was a chance I’d finished high school without either of my parents there to support me. 

From a very young age, I learned to appreciate what I have in my life for what it is. My mom was never the same after her injury and I had to accept being happy for the sole fact that I was lucky enough to hear her voice still. My dad was rarely an ideal father figure, he had his struggles and it was growing hard to express how much I appreciated his presence in my life. I realized I needed to appreciate the sole fact that I was lucky to have him alive and present in my life. On top of that, I could have lost him. 

This realization gave me a different outlook on how to appreciate the people you have in your life. I wanted to share this viewpoint and think it is time for a reminder to take a moment to give those extra seconds to appreciate your parents and tell them that you love them. 

I understand that not everyone has both parents to be there in support of them — in many ways, neither do I. With a world filled with people whose circumstances can be tremendously different, it would be ignorant to sit here and preach about giving thanks solely to parents. 

So I urge that if you have the ability to — give your mom or your dad a hug, longer and tighter than you normally would in this season to give thanks. Tell them how much you love them, no matter how you frustrate each other. After all, if it weren’t for them, you wouldn’t be here. 

If you don’t have this luxury — give that love and appreciation to those you love, those who inspire you, those who support you in what you do and those who you feel you couldn’t have made it to where you are today without. 

Give thanks to the siblings who help raise us or the grandparents who go above and beyond to share their love and assure their grandkids turn out to be lovely members of society. There are teachers and professors who guide us and step out of their teaching roles to be mentors and genuine people who want to see us grow. 

Thank your closest friends who help you find your way through life as they find theirs — they can act as guiding roles as well. They deserve to know what they mean to you and this is the best time to share this with them. 

These people who make an impact in our lives give us reasons to smile and they want us to be better for ourselves and for them, they make us who we are. 

These are the people who we must take some extra time with throughout our days, preferably always — but especially in the days leading to Thanksgiving — to share with them how much they mean to us. 

Whatever problems or struggles you may have with your parents, grandparents or siblings; whatever indifferences you have had with your friends, or how frustrated you may be with your favorite teacher, professor, boss or colleague are insignificant during this time. Put this all aside to share your thanks and love for them. 

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if this person who shaped you is no longer a part of your life. It does not matter if you have had a falling out or are frustrated with them at the moment. It does not even matter if they have passed away and you can not physically have a conversation with them. 

Reach out, speak it into the universe and take that extra second to say that you love them. Let these people know that they have made an impact on your life and share your thanks for those who helped to make you the person you are today. It is always great to know why someone is thankful for you.

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