A Thanksgiving Conversation For You

Turkey Day Approaches

conversationWe here in Canada observe Thanksgiving almost a month earlier than our cousins in the United States.  Just this past week, as my daughter prepared for a vacation to my country of origin – Jamaica – we talked about a family gathering she will be attending. Thinking about the personalities and behind the scene stories, I remarked that she might be in for the uncomfortable Thanksgiving conversation you often hear about.

October has been what you could call a turning point month in my life. Not only does the colour of the leaves change as we welcome Fall but so many other transformations happen at this time of the year. This was true in my experience many years ago. Earlier, another conversation that my daughter and I had around this time in 2006 came to mind.

With the approach of “turkey day,” here in Canada on October 10 and on November 24 in the United States, I thought I would share that conversation with you as food for thought. It is not the usual Thanksgiving fare but as the challenges facing our younger population around the world continue to intensify, it is a timely conversation to have. Some of the details were edited to protect the privacy of those involved in this story.


The Conversation

conversation

The phone rang and I picked it up on the second ring after seeing on the caller id that it was my baby girl.

“Hey, what’s up?” I asked.

“Why you took so long to answer the phone,” was her response.

Now feeling like the child in this conversation, I defensively explained, “I answered on the second ring.”

“No, you didn’t,” she told me. “It rang six times before you answered.”

“Well I know I answered on the second ring, but whatever,” the mother, who wanted to keep this connection going, responded. Thinking that something must have happened why she was counting the number of rings before I picked up, I asked, “So what’s up…is everything okay?”

Several months earlier, we went through a very challenging for me experience. No, let me correct that…the turmoil, utter despair and desperation that I put myself through when my daughter moved out. After the dust settled, my daughter and I came to an understanding that we would stay in touch three times a week. Well, I came to that understanding and told her that she should call me Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. She complied – for a month – then basically told me to bugger off!

Speed Talking

Since then, when my telephone rang and I see that it was she calling a giddy sense of joy washed over me.

“My baby girl is calling!”

I tried not to call her unless there was something important to say and I kept it very brief. Like the day that I called to say that it was time to submit our applications for Canadian citizenship and, not to worry, we would pay the processing fees.

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There was a television commercial for a cellular phone company where the caller speaks so quickly it sounds almost like a coded message as they watched their minutes. For a very different reason, my daughter’s need to feel independent, I found myself doing the same thing – talking quickly. That conversation went like this:

“I will pay the cost of your getting your citizenship, just fill out the forms that I gave you some months ago.”

Imagine saying that in less than a second! That was all the time I had before she said, “Okay, bye.”

A Different Conversation

memoriesThat October day, however, her response to my speedy inquiry if all was well was “Yes.”

Feeling that there was a waiting on her part, I asked, “So why did you call?”

“Nothing.”

“You just wanted to hear my beautiful voice?”

“No.”

Now treading into dangerous waters, I asked, “Missed me?”

“No.”

Totally confused but knowing that something was waiting to be said I decided to be silent.

“How do you make jerk chicken?” was her question, breaking the silence.

I gave her the recipe and being the nosy one I asked if she is having a dinner party.

“No, there is an auction at work and a group of us are planning to give a Caribbean dinner package as an item,” she told me. “The proceeds will go to United Way and so I want to do jerk chicken.”

That was my first “Thanks be to God,” for the evening. My daughter was thinking about others, how to use her skills, talent and gifts to serve others. “Thank you God,” I said to myself again and launched into even greater details about how to make the chicken ‘nicer’.

The silence fell over us again.

“Alright then,” I said thinking the conversation was over, “See you guys on Sunday?”

The “guys” included her then boyfriend, the apple of her eyes and man of her dreams. They were coming to Thanksgiving dinner and to celebrate her birthday on October 15. This would be her first visit home since moving out and we were pulling out all the stops.

A Friend In Trouble

“Do you remember …?” she asked, naming one of her oldest friends in Canada.

I said a questioning, “Yes?”

“Well, she moved in with her boyfriend some months ago and is in serious trouble,” she matter-of-factly said.

Tears streamed down my face listening to the story. Working as I was with women in the criminal justice system, I knew a possible end to this story. I have been at the gate ‘welcoming’ women who took a similar road.

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“I need to find her Mummy,” I heard my daughter saying. “She won’t return my telephone calls and I know she has her cell.”

“Okay?” I carefully replied, “Maybe she is not feeling too happy about where she is now, hence her not calling you back?”

Unsure whether my daughter was ready to deal with this situation and, quite frankly, not sure that I wanted her to, I asked, “And what do you think you can do?”

“I don’t know Mummy, but I just cannot leave her on the streets, I have to find her and talk to her, make sure she knows I am here.”

That was my second, “Thank you God.” Although my mind was rushing over all the horrible things that could happen by her getting involved, in my heart I knew she was right. In my heart I also knew that my baby girl has a caring soul and I thanked God again.

Giving Thanks

thanksgivingAs I listened to the rest of the story and asked about her own situation, I was quietly thanking God for keeping her safe.  There was a real crisis in our city, particularly among the young people. At the time, reports were that about 26.5% of children in grades 7 – 12  were involved in heavy episodic drinking, drinking at least five times per month.  I
had read a report that about 10% of the homeless population in Edmonton are youths between the ages of 15 – 18. You had to wonder what the hell was going on!

Preparing to have a Thanksgiving meal and celebrate my daughter, I knew that we had to say a special prayer for her friend and for the hundreds of young people battling the challenges of living in a wealthy province (and world) but living without a purpose.


Fast forward to this Thanksgiving, again prayers and actions are needed. More of us need to wake up to what is really happening around us. Many people are merely existing, not living and they are right next door to us. Continuing to close our eyes and ignore them; ignore the real pain and suffering in our world, more young people, young women, like my daughter’s friend back then, will be greeted by the jail keepers or gravediggers.

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30 thoughts on “A Thanksgiving Conversation For You

  1. Wow, that was quite a read. I would’ve probably felt the same all through-out. I was hooked by time you started it with the number of “rings”.
    Karlaroundtheworld | Karla recently posted…Ice Walk in Columbia Icefields, Jasper, AlbertaMy Profile

  2. I think it is a challenge dealing with alcholics or dealing with achohol addiction. It’s just somtehing so many people have lost themselves to or have had to face .
    Momina Arif recently posted…10.9.13.My Profile

  3. My heart was racing reading this. I have a 7th grader and couldn’t imagine her drinking, but so many of our youth are turning to bad behaviors and relationships.

    Thanksgiving is the time you get all the strange and unusual conversations at the table.
    MomJonz recently posted…Mamas And CoffeeMy Profile

  4. […] the case of us Canadians, we will start eating up a storm! This led me to think not only about my Thanksgiving dinner menu. All the stuff that will be purchased and ate until January 1, 2017 rushed into my […]

  5. Turkey Day! I love turkey day

    1. Ms Claudette

      Glad that you do! Please enjoy when it comes your way Samantha! 🙂

  6. Happy Thanksgiving to you! It’s really a great time of year for being reflective

    1. Ms Claudette

      It really is a great time Erin. 🙂

  7. Ourfamilyworld

    Oh, this is so lovely. Your conversation with your daughter is so timeless, she was raised well.

    1. Ms Claudette

      Thank you so very much, you are too kind. 🙂

  8. Jena Proctor

    You reminded me of how I need to talk to my mother more. I pray your daughters friend is well.

    1. Ms Claudette

      Thanks Jena! As I mentioned to someone else, this was originally written a decade ago and the young woman in question has done very well for herself all things considered. 🙂

  9. Thanksgiving is one of those holidays that makes you realize your place in life and what transpired to get you to that place. It’s a great time to reflect and to think about the past and how it has changed you. These days, kids are doing more and more of what they think is right without considering the consequences, they need guidance, definitely.
    Carol Cassara recently posted…Sonoma autumnMy Profile

    1. Ms Claudette

      Thanks for such a insightful comment Carol! Always appreciated. 🙂

  10. learn something new everyday. i didn’t know Canada had their own version of Thanksgiving.

    1. Ms Claudette

      Glad you learned something here today Rain and yes Canada has been celebrating Thanksgiving like the USA and many European countries. It is a celebration of the harvest and other countries do have such celebrations at different times of the year.

  11. Great read! Amazing how family traditions and recipies can tie us together! It’s an amazing feeling when our children come to us with their troubles!

    1. Ms Claudette

      Yes and yes Carissa! It really funny how food and family work! 🙂 Thanks for the visit.

  12. [ Smiles ] A lovely, heart-felt message!
    Renard Moreau recently posted…Never Lose An Article AgainMy Profile

    1. Ms Claudette

      Thank you Renard. 🙂

  13. I am so thankful for my family and how well they all are doing. I am thankful for everyone in this world that makes a difference by doing things to help others.

    1. Ms Claudette

      I join you in that Glenda, being thankful for all who make a difference in the lives of others. 🙂

  14. I always cover my children and all children in our community in the blood of the lamb.
    With that said, I really feel that we gotta let them fly, Just over the weekend my little 18 yr old got herself a weekend job..Instead of jumping with joy, I got into the how she must find time to go to church, that she must not replace God with work and money…I went on abut responsibilities…then I stopped…I asked myself. Why was I getting worked up? I realised I was feeling the emptiness already, of her leaving home in a year or so for University. And then she wont have to tell me a thing or ask if I am ok with her going to work on a Sunday! Lord have mercy an Thank God for our Children!

    I pray that your daughter’s friend finds her self and inner strength to walk away from a bad relationship and situation! Thanks for sharing, and reminding me how much I have to be thankful for!

    1. Ms Claudette

      You are an amazing Mom, Julie! This post was first written and published over 10 years ago and I am happy to report that all is well with the young woman in question. 🙂

  15. Elizabeth O.

    That’s really eye-opening. There are plenty of things that’s happening with the people around us especially the youth which makes me thankful that my kids are in a good place.

    1. Ms Claudette

      As parents, we rejoice when our kids are “in a good place,” as you say Elizabeth. It is heartbreaking when we see when they are not. 🙁

  16. This is a reminder that we need to pray with urgency for our communities and our children.

    1. Ms Claudette

      Yes Taria and do what we can, however small. 🙂

  17. Thanks for sharing your thanksgiving! For me, on thanksgiving dinner, we usually pray and give thanks to God for the food on the table and be thankful to have one another. Happy Thanksgiving to you!

    1. Ms Claudette

      Happy Thanksgiving to you as well Sharon when it comes your way! 🙂

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