My granddaughter will be tasting Thanksgiving turkey for the first time Thursday. Too young for solid food last fall, this will be the first time in her young life she has experienced all the delights of a traditional holiday dinner.
But she already understands what's important about Thanksgiving - and life, really - and what sets it apart from holidays such as Christmas.
She knows about family.
She has a healthy skepticism about many strangers. You can see it in her face.
But when she sees me, her face lights up. She stretches out her arms. When I mention "Grammy," she squeals with delight. No matter how absorbed she is in play, when I tell her it's time to go home to Mommy and Daddy, she smiles. When she spots her aunt coming through the door for a visit, she sometimes giggles in anticipation. And she knows her extended family, even though she's been with them only a few times in her life.
Why is it many people love Thanksgiving more than any other time of year? We don't shoot off any fireworks. We don't spend time worrying about just the right costume. We don't begin looking for gifts and money to pay for them months in advance.
We simply prepare a turkey, some mashed potatoes and stuffing, a little cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie and a few other delectables and enjoy them with our families.
It's not the food that makes the day. It's the people with whom we enjoy it. It's a day when the thanks many of us offer to God is for those around us and for the opportunity to take a few hours and revel in them.
My granddaughter already has that part down pat. She doesn't need a holiday to enjoy her family. And we don't require one to enjoy her - or to be deeply grateful for her.
At some point in life, she may be separated from her family by the requirements of college or work. Later, she will lose some forever. She doesn't know that, yet.
All she knows is how much she enjoys us - and she's right if she thinks we love to be around her.
In a way, then, many days are Thanksgiving for her, in a very important way. Unburdened as yet by the stress of later life, she takes delight in family every day.
Wouldn't it be nice if we all could hold onto that outlook on life?
Myer can be reached at: email@example.com.