Happy Thanksgiving

It seems I have let a large chunk of time pass since my last post.  I didn’t mean to stay silent for so long, I just got caught up in life.  Though I have neglected my blog for a few months, I have decided that a perfect way to get back into the swing of writing would be to write about my experiences with Thanksgiving, the American holiday of feasting and reflection on the things in our lives that we are thankful for.  There is much for me to be thankful for this year I am happy to say.  One of the things I am very thankful for is the joy of the holiday itself.  There was a time when I felt indifferent about Thanksgiving.  A period of time in my life that I just didn’t care about the holiday at all.  That may sound odd until I explain why.

When I was young, as far back as I can remember, I used to love Thanksgiving.  I don’t remember anything from before my parents got divorced, but I do remember Thanksgivings after that time where my father would take my sister and I to his Aunt Eve’s house for Thanksgiving.  The entire family would meet up at Aunt Eve’s house, and I loved going there. I would get to see cousins, second cousins, grandparents, and family members that I didn’t get to see on a regular basis.  There was always a huge amount of food to eat, and plenty of family bonding.  I look back on those days with many fond memories.

As time passed and everyone got older,  Aunt Eve stopped having big family gatherings at her home on Thanksgiving.  That is when the tradition of Thanksgiving began to unravel, and I began to lose the joy that Thanksgiving used to bring me.  For a couple of years, my grandmother started making Thanksgiving dinner for our more immediate family until she felt that it was too much for her to handle at her age.  After that, my father would take my sister and I out to a restaurant for our Thanksgiving meal.  That only lasted a couple of Thanksgivings until the day I finally gave up the idea of ever having a traditional family Thanksgiving again.  Although I don’t remember the exact year it happened, I will always remember the day my father told me and my sister that we would be on our own for Thanksgiving.  My father had made plans to spend Thanksgiving with the woman he had been dating that would eventually become my stepmother forcing my sister and I to seek out other options for our holiday.

I spent a Thanksgiving or two after that having dinner at the homes of some of my friends.  I am grateful to my friends for allowing me to join their Thanksgiving celebrations, yet I couldn’t help but feel like an outsider the whole time.  My mind just couldn’t accept that this would be how my Thanksgivings were spent, and I longed for the holidays of my youth at Aunt Eve’s house.

I began a new Thanksgiving tradition  a couple of years later when I met my wife.  Shortly after my wife and I began dating, she invited me to share Thanksgiving with her and her family.  At the beginning, I still felt out of place even though my wife’s family welcomed me to their holiday celebration.  Once I grew more familiar and comfortable with my wife’s family, Thanksgiving began to feel like a warm family holiday once again, and I was happy.

Alas, as the saying goes, all good things really do come to an end.  A few years later, I lost my job due to a lay-off right before Thanksgiving.  I was able to find employment a few months later at a new company.  The new company that employed me, however, had a work schedule of twelve hour shifts working seven days a week.  The only time the plant closed was on Christmas day, which meant that I ended up working a twelve hour shift on Thanksgiving day.  Let me tell you, nothing made me feel as indifferent towards Thanksgiving as being forced to spend the holiday at work.  Sure, the cafeteria at work would make a decent Thanksgiving meal for all of us at work that day, but that couldn’t hide the fact that we were stuck at work.

Fortunately, three years later I changed my shift at work and I no longer had to work on Thanksgiving and could return to spending the day with my wife and her family.  That would only last a couple of years, unfortunately, due to a death in the family right before Thanksgiving a couple of years ago.  That year my wife and I had a quiet Thanksgiving with just the two of us and a small turkey that my wife cooked.  Despite the recent family tragedy, spending the day with just my wife eating a good Thanksgiving meal, watching parades and football, and not having to leave the house at all turned out to be a very pleasant way for us to spend our Thanksgiving.  For that reason, that will always be one of my favorite Thanksgivings, even though the weeks leading up to that day were tragic.

Last year, things changed once again when my father and stepmother finally moved out of their tiny apartment into their new home.  Now that they finally had a home with plenty of space to share, my father and stepmother decided to host Thanksgiving dinner.  My wife and I were happy to head to my father’s new home and join my father, my stepmother, and my stepsister and her family, and begin a new family tradition.  This year, we are once again heading up to my father’s home for Thanksgiving.  I am happy to say that Thanksgiving, once again, feels like the proper family holiday it should be.  I am actually looking forward to spending the holiday with my family this year.

After all the ups and downs of my past Thanksgivings, I can honestly tell you that this particular holiday has become very important to me.  Thanksgiving is now one of my favorite holidays, which is something I have not felt in a very long time.

I hope that everyone reading this will have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and I hope you will appreciate the family around you. You many not always get along with your family, but you just might miss them when they are not around anymore.  To those that don’t have family to spend Thanksgiving with, I hope you can find some joy and happiness on the holiday too.  I understand how it feels when you don’t have family to celebrate with, and I know how much of an impact that can have on you.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

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