During this time of year, there are always folks saying to don’t forget to check on your strong friend(s.) It is true and it is best to check on them! I always labeled myself as that strong friend. When the holiday season approaches my inner strength increases. It’s like I go into an overcharge of raging emotions. 

My overcharge of raging emotions come from reflecting. I reflect back on how far I have come. I never had many friends that would open up or communicate with me during the holiday season. I use to think that it was not a big deal. The entire time I was just afraid of the truth. 

I realized that it was during the holiday season I needed their phone calls or presence the most. I'm not a clingy friend either. Plus, for the past four years, I have been celebrating Thanksgiving without any friends or phone calls.

These past four years have shown me the importance of family and genuine friendships. 

Growing up in poverty I during this time of the year meant no togetherness. From the age of seven, I can recall not having food to eat for Thanksgiving. In the house that I called a home, there was never a dining room table. 

I was fortunate to be healthy. I was fortunate to have a roof over my head. I was fortunate to have my family surrounding me. We didn’t have much, but we sure had one another. As a family, we struggled together. My mother would make us a pitcher of sugar water to drink as if it was sweet tea. 

I would walk off into the bathroom and cry after trying my best to explain to my younger sister and brother about why we didn’t have any food. Being the oldest I had to be the strongest. I did not sugarcoat the truth. Money was scarce. It was difficult for our mother to budget her spending. The food stamps only stretch so far. I did not fault her for the usual holiday struggle. 

My siblings and I would look out of one of the two small square screen window to the room we shared. We would look to see if our Auntie was going to bring over something for us to eat. Sometimes she would bring leftovers from her friend’s houses. Sometimes people would bring leftovers from their Thanksgiving to us. I would always remind my sister and brother to never rely upon or want to be a charity case to someone. 

No matter how rough the holidays were I never lost sight in my faith. Things were going to get better. Things were going to turn around someway, somehow. Growing up in poverty humbled me. Still, to this day, I have moments when I think about what Thanksgiving used to be. I cry. Things still aren’t all good even though it’s years later. The pressure is still on me to be the backbone for my immediate family.

 I just cannot sit at a table and feast on an amazing meal without thinking about my people. They are still less fortunate than I am. My mother or Uncle Louis doesn’t have a home to call their own. They both live in their sister’s trailer. My little brother locked up from wilding out. My sister just looking out for herself. My Uncle Leonard is in the nursing home. 

So, yeah I cannot expect for everything to be 100% on their end. I do know that I can continue to be mindful of their circumstances. I can continue to pray and give them whatever I can. I want to remind you that if you do have a strong friend or friends to keep them in mind. Give them a call or video chat with them. Pray for them. If you can invite them over or plan time to go out, do it! I’m wishing you and yours a happy holiday season! 

Have a great and safe Thanksgiving! 

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