Every Labor Day millions of people descend on my neighborhood to celebrate the Caribbean tradition of Carnival.
Between the music, the costumes, the food and the all-around good time, it's easy to forget that Labor Day is a moment of reflection -- one day out of 365 -- in which we recognize how much we owe to those that came before us, those that stand beside us and those to whom the debt of our labors is passed on.
Of course there are official Labor Day parades in most cities and towns which celebrate the achievements and contributions of working people. But there are others -- mothers, fathers, relatives, friends and neighbors -- who bear the weight of carrying forward the social and cultural values that invisibly shape so much of our daily lives.
Creating and raising a family -- no matter how you define it, whether it be inherited or selected -- is work. There is no parents' union to collect dues and make sure the love, care, attention, hope, faith and hard work that is put into the next generation pays off. There is also no question that someone, somewhere, cared enough about you and your future to invest in your wellbeing. If there were no such person, you would not be reading this blog right now, nor would I be writing it.
So I encourage everyone to make the time -- today, or tomorrow, but don't wait too long -- to let the people who nurture, support, feed, and care for you know that you appreciate their presence in your life and value their labor.
It's amazing how often we forget to say thank you, and how much it means when we do.