“Thanksgiving, after all, is a word of action.” – W.J. Cameron
I love November. As a wife, a mother, a veteran, and a lawyer, it’s a season where my passions collide.The air is crisp and fall colors are beautiful – an interlude before the full force of winter and the hectic December holidays. I use it as a touchstone to remember to give thanks for what we have and give thankfully going forward.
Two holidays bookend the month; Veteran’s Day and Thanksgiving. This is the first Veteran’s day we’ve celebrate since the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in September. As the nation paid tribute to the generations of veterans – nearly 25 million in all – whose commitment to service and sacrifice keeps our nation strong, I stood proudly alongside my partner, Jennifer and our twins Katherine and Christopher. It’s an amazing feeling to know active duty troops must no longer serve in silence and the contributions of the community are finally recognized and celebrated. And to also know that every soldier can stand proudly with their own families at parades and on a tarmac.
A uniquely American holiday ends the month, Thanksgiving. A day where family, friends, and food (and don’t forget football!) come together for a massive, festive, feast. While we tend to focus on the feast and football, my favorite part of Thanksgiving is gathering over a meal, not over a mountain a gifts. It’s an opportunity to catch up on the year past, to share a laugh, and have a conversation with parents or other aging friends or relatives about their future.
Most importantly, it’s a day to reflect on the the bounty in our lives – our friends and families and our freedoms.
This is the second Thanksgiving Jennifer and I are celebrating as parents. I am sitting with my deep sense of gratitude – for the healthy children born to us through our surrogate, Brittany.
As we wrap up the month and look forward to Santa season, I encourage you to consider giving a gift that will make an impact on lives. We love and appreciate Brittany’s gift of surrogacy – which obviously made a lifelong impact on our lives – but that’s not for everyone!
Why not make an impact this holiday in the lives of people you don’t even know? There are so many reputable charities focused on helping veterans and their families – as well as organizations that focus on family and fertility. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Operation Homefront – a national organization helping active duty, deployed, and wounded warriors and their families with emergency assistance – financial, food, home and auto repair, and much more.
- Resolve – the national infertility organization provides support, education, access to research, and political advocacy for all family building options.
- Colage – a national movement of children, youth, and adults with one or more LGBTQ parent/s, building community and working towards social justice through youth empowerment, leadership development, education, and advocacy.
- Feeding America – largest national hunger-relief organization with a national network of member food banks providing fresh foods to Americans struggling with hunger, meals for children, and emergency assistance in disasters.
- Toys for Tots – US Marine Corps national campaign to collect new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December and distribute them as Christmas gifts to needy children in the local community.
Let Thanks and Giving be an everyday part of your life – not just in November, but every month of the year.