For me the first focus of Thanksgiving is planning and cooking an elaborate meal to share with people I love. We will sit around the table, speak of our gratitude, naming that for which we are thankful.  Good food, much-loved company and the practice of being grateful, a better day is unimaginable.

This Thanksgiving will include these things.  My menu has been planned for months, my grocery list for weeks.  The meal will be shared with six of my favorite people: my husband, two of our dearest friends and their three children.  In terms of gratitude, I am overflowing.  Twenty-ten has been a year of healing, of opening up and letting go.  At the age of 33, I am finally comfortable in my own skin.  For this, I am grateful.

In addition to the food, company and gratitude, the reality of separation and divorce will also be joining us at the table this year.  My friends—two people whom I have spent numerous holidays with over the past decade—have decided to end their marriage.  They have asked me and my husband to join them for Thanksgiving, to sit alongside them as the first holiday of this new reality passes.  Together we will cook and eat and be thankful—thankful for love and friendship, for children, for traditions enjoyed.  We will also mourn.  We will say goodbye to something important.

This Thanksgiving I will say goodbye to the marriage of two friends that have witnessed much of my adult life.  Theirs is a marriage that has stood beside me through the healing process of difficult things.  It is a marriage that has journeyed with me on the path of spirituality, struggled with me to understand the meaning of God.  I will say goodbye to a marriage that I have celebrated with, cried with, grown with, traveled with—a marriage that has helped shape me into who I am.

But I will not say goodbye to my friends.  I will sit with them and share a meal.  I will admire the grace with which they are handling this terrible situation.  I will continue to love the people they are—thoughtful, creative, smart and joyous—and I will get to know the people they are becoming.  I will watch as they learn to parent on their own, as they chart new, independent paths.  I will watch as they explore the possibilities of loving someone else.  I will watch as they discover more of themselves.

This Thanksgiving I will share a table with six of my favorite people.  I will speak of my gratitude.