ThanksgivingTomorrow is Thanksgiving here in the United States. It’s a time for families to gather together and if they aren’t too busy watching football and eating turkey, reflect on all they have to be thankful for.

For many families with LGBTQ children, it can be a time of sadness. Many of these parents have chosen love of their LGBTQ child above anything else. That means for them, they have lost extended family members and church communities, the very people they used to celebrate Thanksgiving with. For some, this may be the first Thanksgiving without the people they’ve always celebrated with.

I can’t really imagine what that is like or how that feels because it is not my experience. There were times when my children were young, long before my son came out, that I chose not to spend Thanksgiving with my parents and family. Instead, I hosted an “orphans” Thanksgiving at my house for friends who had nowhere else to go or who, like me, chose not to be with their extended families. I loved those Thanksgiving. I didn’t have to do anything to please my mom or family and I could create the kind of Thanksgiving I wanted. My favorite part of those Thanksgivings was going around the table and each person sharing what they were thankful for. There was a lot of love in that home. I felt that more there than anywhere else.

This year, I’m hosting Thanksgiving again after not doing it for many years. It is our last Thanksgiving in the home we’ve lived in for 29 years. We are moving to North Carolina on December 31st. There’s something that still feels so unreal about that. I will have none of my family here but will have some of my husband’s family. We will be 15 people, mostly family by choice. I kind of like it that way!

I’m thankful for those who will gather around my table, first and foremost, my husband. My life would be so much duller and less fun without him. He makes me smile, he makes me laugh. I feel safe with him and loved by him. I have the marriage I only imagined in my younger days. I’m thankful to be moving closer to my children who both live in the Southeast. I’m thankful for my health and the well-being of all those I love the most. I’m especially thankful for the amazing network of moms of LGBTQ kids in my life. They inspire me every day.

I wish you a thankful and joyous Thanksgiving. No matter our circumstances, there is always so much to be grateful for if we just look and keep our hearts open to it. What are you thankful for?