I have always been a great fan of the fall-winter holiday season, beginning with the fun of Halloween’s candy and creativity through the eager anticipation of Baby New Year’s hopes and dreams for the future. In the middle comes Thanksgiving which I have always treasured for its focus on family. The holiday was established to honor the Pilgrim’s quest for freedom and to celebrate the bountiful harvests after years of struggles and starvation. Today, Thanksgiving has evolved into a general celebration where we gather to share memories and offer thanks for the most important things in life: good health, good fellowship, and of course, our families.
As President of the Society for Birth Defects Research and Prevention, I will be raising a toast to all of my colleagues who have devoted their professional lives to ensuring the safety and health of the next generation. When I look across the dining room table and see my grandchildren Brandon and Aly splashing gravy and cranberry sauce everywhere, I will remember your efforts and how they helped bring these two beautiful, healthy children into my world. I will also laugh and remind my daughter and her husband that it’s okay that the tablecloth is a mess. Cranberry sauce and gravy can be washed way, but a birth defect has a lifelong effect on an individual’s quality of life. Smiling children are our greatest joy.
Please enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday with your own friends and family, knowing that your work has incalculable value. Rest. Relax, and Safe travels to all! You deserve it.