Chaos. Complete chaos is the best way to describe Thanksgiving Day for our family. We typically have zero plans until the week before. We don’t have any specific traditions, and things are changing all the time. Sometimes we’re home at the ranch, sometimes we’re on the road, but wherever we are, the four of us are together.
I have two children, ages 15 and 14, and I often wonder if these kids are really mine. They’re such fantastic kids, which I was not. They do a ton of traveling with our family and do so well with it. During the holidays, our one priority is to be together. It doesn’t necessarily matter what we’re doing or where we are. This year, we’ve been discussing the idea of moving back into our old house (which is now the ranch lodge) for a few days. It’s a very small house with no cable and only the bare necessities. Being back in that house would force us to be in each other’s laps for three to four days, whether we like it or not, and would help us have a greater appreciation for the house we live in now.
I love Thanksgiving because it’s a time to really focus on being thankful. But what I really try to remember, and emphasize with my family, is that this really shouldn’t be a huge change from our everyday lives. This isn’t the one week a year when we should have hearts full of gratitude. Our prayers and hearts should constantly be riddled with thanksgiving! Of course, not every day is going to be a holiday, but as a believer, our focus shouldn’t change a whole lot. And as we move toward Christmastime, we can be extra thankful for what Jesus did for us. The giving and receiving of gifts should be only a slightly exaggerated version of how we bless and serve each other all year-round.
Growing up, our family’s holidays looked very similar to what our family’s look like today. With my dad’s job in baseball, we were always bouncing all over the place. Complete chaos. Holidays have never been perfectly planned out way in advance for us. Instead, as a family, we decide what we want to do closer to the day. Sometimes that means going up to Steamboat Springs to ski and visit with my brother, and sometimes that means we just stay home and rest. I love seeing my extended family, but some of my favorite holidays are those spent just the four of us — me, my wife and my kids at home. Nothing is pressing and there are no distractions. We spend all our time hanging out with each other — eating good meals, breaking out board games, and watching old movies.
If I could describe the perfect Thanksgiving, it would be spent with the three people I love most — the four of us sitting around and simply enjoying each other.
— Adam LaRoche
Adam LaRoche is a former MLB player and a regular contributor to The Increase, providing monthly articles and opinions.