Thanksgiving is tomorrow! I love this time of year, it has been a favorite of mine since childhood. Growing up and into adulthood, we’d always have a huge family dinner at my grandparent’s house. The entire family would get together to celebrate and enjoy each other’s company. I always looked forward to those special days. Once I was married, Daryle fell right in to the Mercer Family tradition. He loved my Nanny’s cooking, his favorite was her Famous Crackling Cornbread.

After having children, Daryle and I began hosting Thanksgiving Dinner at our home in Tennessee. Our Mercer Family tradition became our Singletary Family tradition. While the location may have changed, the company, happy memories, and most importantly, Nanny’s Famous Crackling Cornbread, remained. Funny story, I actually didn’t know how to make the cornbread, so Daryle had to ask my Nanny for the recipe! From then on, we always made it together.

This will be our third Thanksgiving without Daryle. Naturally, having to celebrate holidays without your loved ones can stir up a lot of emotions. And sometimes, at least for us, having to follow through with old traditions without your loved one will do the same. Last year, we made the decision to break from tradition and celebrate Thanksgiving away from home. Instead, we went to Gatlinburg and spent the day with my sister and her family. It was a difficult choice for me, but the kids said it was the best Thanksgiving ever!

We stayed at the Christmas Inn, which was so magical. There, its Christmas year round. Santa sings songs by the fire every night, and he even brings some milk and cookies to share. We laughed, and loved, and took in all the magic the Inn had to offer. It was different being away from home, but we needed it. It felt good.

This year, I’ve decided we’ll be taking our annual Disneyworld trip on Thanksgiving, and it appears we’ve made a new tradition: on Thanksgiving, the Singletary’s go where the magic is. This time, its the happiest place on Earth! We are so excited!

It seems we will always miss Daryle a little extra around the holidays. I’m so grateful to have a family which helps to ease those aches. Daryle may be gone, but we were lucky enough to be left with hearts full of love and the memories we shared. I will forever cherish our time around the Mercer table, and later, the Singletary table. To be honest, I still can’t bring myself to bake Nanny’s Famous cornbread without him; but I’m learning that grief and gratitude can exist in the same space, and its okay to create new traditions. It’s okay to find joy wherever you can. And remember, there is always something to be thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving, friends! This year, I am so, so grateful for each and every one of you. Thank you for joining me on this journey. Wishing you all love and light this Holiday season!