The holiday season begins the time of year where post after post, story after story, is about how “the Atheist” deals with certain religious situations that occur with each tradition. The past weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, I’ve been bombarded with every typical, “How the Atheist can cope” story on my news feed; from large news providers like The Huffington Post to personal blogs like The Friendly Atheist. Reading all of these stories has made me realize and understand what I am really thankful for on this Thanksgiving 2011.
With all the “givens” aside that I am obviously “thankful” for: my husband, my children, our health and our happy home, friends and family, yadda yadda yadda, it has become glaringly apparent that I should emphasize one very special “thank-you”.
So here goes:
This Thanksgiving (and hopefully I am able to retroact this to all past Thanksgivings) I am especially thankful to my parents, Diana and Marcello, who always let me and my brother “be”. I mean this in the sense that we grew up always being encouraged and supported into finding our own way, whether we fucked up royally or soared with achievement. My parents never constrained us into a specific “you have to do this this way” or “you have to be this person” and I am quite sure that, after the standards ups and downs of “life”, they turned out some really cool kids. Not to brag, but I think my brother and I are some pretty cool cats.
So when I read these articles during the holidays about how an Atheist should “cope” or speak with fellow Atheists who have to hide who they are at the holiday dinner table, I just realize how lucky my brother and I have it. We’ve never had to hide anything from our folks (which sometimes results in some pretty TMI conversations). We’ve never been criticized for who we are or what we believe (or don’t believe). Sure, both mom and dad are Atheists too, which helps a lot in the whole “non-judgmental” department, but I have a feeling if either my brother or I came home one day as evangelical Christians or Orthodox Jews, my parents would be ok with it. Sure, they’d be a little confused, but aren’t children supposed to confuse their parents to begin with?
So thank-you, mommy and papinos, for letting us “be”. I know that I will instill those same sentiments in my children so that they may become whoever they wish to be without fear or repercussions.
Now get over here and stuff your faces.