Because things are so different for myself and my family this year it has me really focusing on what used to be. What became of traditions that my family once had. I have fond memories. When I was a child and the entire family from both sides would get together, all us kids running and playing, not a care in the world. The smell of all the yummy foods wafting through the house. Grown ups chatting over each other, peels of laughter and joy and then the carving of the bird and the sneaking of the crunchy skin...eyes becoming huge with the site of the brown and gooey marshmallows on the yams! After my Grandfather sleeping in front of the tv and the women cleaning up before pumpkin pie was served...it was a glorious day. Always a day looked forward to and cherished after.
Through the years as rifts would happen, divorces, moves to far away to make the effort to drive or fly , traditions changed. Soon it was a day spent at my parents home, at meal time there would be just me and all the adults... I would sit and listen to the stories from days gone past and lively discussions I really was not a part of. The meal remained the same and the dishes once cleared would wait as my Mom never was one for doing them right away. But it was still a day that meant to me a special time, that family time spent together.
When I had moved out, soon the traditions changed again. Now time had to be split between our place, my Parents, and my boyfriends. Celebrations became diverse, and smaller. More time was spent in the car, not as much time spent with each family. I see that happening now with my own daughters as we try to figure out how to spend the holiday together....they needing to split their time between us and the boyfriends family.
When I got married, I started to host Thanksgiving. I enjoyed having the family over, my Parents, now Grandparents. Our own children running around and playing and asking how long till we ate? I loved the prep work, the smells now wafting through my home. Making so much food it could feed an army, knowing we would live off leftovers for days to come...being very happy with myself that I could now play hostess. My husband over the years perfecting the Turkey. We did clean up together and enjoyed the time spent over happy "busy" work.
Then traditions changed again. We moved back to California. My husbands folks are long ago passed. My parents and close friends are still in Texas. The first one here, we still cooked the same large meal. Even though there was just our small family, just Robert and I and the girls. It became more casual. We would watch the parade. Stay in our PJS all day, no guests coming, so did not matter. The second year we had one guest, but not till later....a drop by really of our middle daughter and her boyfriend, and we were reduced to three of us, as our older daughter had moved back to Texas. Last year, it was four of us, our two young daughters came by for supper and a game of Uno...if it had not been a huge meal on the table, it would have seen just like an ordinary day. More traditions lost.
This year. This year our middle daughter, Rebecca will be having Thanksgiving at her home. On what used to be our large DR table, that now sits proudly in her dining space. She will buy the food, cook the meal ( with help from us this first time around) ...volunteering as we can not afford all the fixings and now we have a small round dining table and it is just too tight of a squeeze. Her boyfriend will split his time between his family and us. Our youngest, Angel and her boyfriend will come by, eat a bit, say hello and go back to their apartment to fix their own feast for his Mom. Both making new traditions for the holiday.
The holiday may not be what it once was. Loved ones may be far away, traditions lost or rearranged, and it may at times be very hard for myself and my husband to remember what we are grateful for with all we are going through. But even with all that I am truly looking forward to Thanksgiving day ( and that crunchy turkey skin and browned , gooey marshmallows!) and having that time to sit down and reflect on days past, and days ahead.
*** Hope I do not get busted for using the Peanuts picture...Just love that cartoon!