New Jersey Institute of Balance - November Edition

Nov 2017


Taking Stock at the Thanksgiving Table

on her. The loss of such an integral family member serves as a reminder to spend more time with our loved ones while we’re still around. Thanksgiving is the perfect opportunity to reconnect and be grateful for those we love. I’m lucky to have had parents who taught us the importance of gratitude. It’s been a difficult year, but I’m still thankful for so much. Of course, there’s my family, steadily growing and learning together, and my mother, who I still think of every day. And I don’t want to exclude my father, who will certainly be there at the table this year. He’s been a massively important influence every step of the way. I hope you get the chance to reflect on your own blessings this Thanksgiving. It’s all too easy to take the people around us for granted, not to mention our health and happiness. But this holiday encourages us to stop, look around, and be thankful for the abundance in each of our lives.

constant support and efforts to wrangle the family, Thanksgiving is sure to be a lighter affair, with fewer members of the family making the trip out. As always, the invitation is going to go out to everybody, but I’m afraid that in my mother’s absence, it’s likely that certain parts of the family will grow apart. Nonetheless, we’re still dedicated to getting the family together to keep the tradition going. As my mother’s health declined over the past few years, I began to take on more responsibility in the Thanksgiving kitchen. I’d help her with what I knew, and if I didn’t know how to cook something just the way she liked it, I’d have her teach me. It felt like she was passing the baton to the next generation. Although, this implies that I’m the one in charge this Thanksgiving, which is a daunting prospect.

Thanksgiving has always been a memorable holiday in the Russo family. It’s been a long- standing tradition for us to gather as many members of the clan as possible, packing 20–30 people into one house, laughing, catching up, and chowing down on some of the best food of the year. Then, of course, we’d plop down on the couch in our post-feast catatonic state and watch some football with my cousins, aunts, and uncles. I have fond memories of these legendary Russo gatherings. The festivities always revolved around my mom, who would spend all day cooking mashed potatoes, turkey, and so many sides it was hard to imagine it all coming from a single person. She did have helpers, though, and many people brought their signature dishes. Nonetheless, she was the center of the operation.

My mother’s absence is sure to be felt on the 23rd by all of us who loved and depended

With my mother’s passing in February, this year is going to be different. Without her

“The loss of such an integral family member serves as a reminder to spend more time with our loved ones while we’re still around.“

— Dr. Michael Russo


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