Throughout my life Thanksgiving has been my favorite holiday. I freaking love to eat. I LOVE IT. My dad makes the very best Thanksgiving food I have ever had. His stuffing (not dressing – that goes on lettuce) is amazing. It’s like a brick. You can pick up a chunk and walk around the house nibbling at it without losing pieces to the dog. Awesome for me, but the dog gets pissed because he wants crumbs. Better yet, he wants to trip me and get the whole danged piece. But I digress.
As a youngster, Thanksgiving meant that my dad’s side of the family all piled into my Gram’s house. Her house wasn’t big, yet somehow it never seemed like we were crowded. It was my Gram, her four kids, their spouses and the twelve grandchildren. Over the years boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands and wives came into (and went out of) the picture. Great-grandchildren entered the mix. As families grew they had to spend holidays with their in-laws. It got to be too difficult for Gram to make the meals. A new tradition was born. One year she’d take us all out to the Goodville House in Middletown, and then the next year she’d visit with one of her kids’ families. Then we grew to big for that to work. Now her four kids take turns inviting her to their houses for the holidays.
I miss those great big holiday gatherings. I miss all of us getting together and catching up on what we’ve been doing for the last year. I guess it isn’t as vital to do that anymore since we all communicate more on Facebook now than we ever did before by any other means. But the togetherness is something I miss. Some years we all ate meals and then split off into little groups. One year – and this may not have been Thanksgiving but another holiday – everyone brought their instruments and we put together a band. We sucked. But it was fun.
New traditions must be born now. The grandchildren have their own families and have their own in-laws to visit. We have to find a way to honor our new families, yet not forget our original (note that I didn’t say old) families. How do we do that? I don’t know. I’m spending Thanksgiving 2011 eating kale chips and broccoli with my dog since my husband is in Africa, and I don’t intend to make that a habit! But if I think about it for a minute, I guess I’d have to say that we do it by creating a similarly warm, fun, loving environment in our own home and pray that get-togethers with my parents, brother, niece and nephew, or S’s parents, brother and cousin can provide the same sorts of memories to Little Dude as we experienced growing up.
This year I am thankful that we are the parents to an absolutely beautiful little boy. I am thankful that I have a husband who dropped everything in his life to fly 8,000 miles to be insta-daddy to our little miracle. I am thankful for Bonnie, Justin, Holly, Mark, Jennifer, Matt and Duni for being on this journey with us. I am thankful for my parents and brother for their support. I am thankful for the Pastors Geib, Jenn and George, and all my J’s (Jess R., Jess M., Jolene and Jane) for what they have done for us during the last few months. And of course I am thankful for Spiro, who has been a total angel during the last few weeks. He has made things easier for me. And he stopped farting so much, which is awesome.
Happy thanksgiving to all – may you be relaxing in your stretchy pants.