Thanksgiving- the “family” holiday. It’s the one holiday that really stands out as a gathering for family.
There are no buffers or distractions; no Santa, no Easter baskets, no costumes. There is nothing except recreating the family dinner table experience.
Often it is the only time the extended family gathers together. Whether we live near or far, the busy-ness of working and raising our own families can keep us separated until the holidays. The larger the family, and the more spread out, the more difficult it is to coordinate the holiday dinner.
Throw in the in-laws, the inevitable trying to please both sets of parents, and the potential for stress (and indigestion from consuming two meals) increases. It seems the expectations are high and disappointment arises from those who cannot let their need for control relax.
Gathering together can bring a host of side dishes that don’t necessarily enhance the meal. All those childhood slights, all those roles that we have played out since adolescence. The annoying habits, the slightly sarcastic remarks. Funny how we all dream of a Hallmark moment for about ten minutes into the dinner when Mamma’s Family may be closer to the mark.
Thanksgiving is a time to put aside those differences and to recall what you once shared with your family. It is about the memories, the good memories of sitting at the kid’s table, sneaking a piece of turkey off the platter, playing board games with the cousins, falling asleep in the chair lulled by the voices of the grown-ups.
It’s about your children enjoying time with their cousins, talking about school, sports and their weird parents. It’s about giving the grandparents a chance to swell with pride when they look down the table at their children and grandchildren.
Thanksgiving dinner reminds us to give thanks, but also to have a generous, and forgiving heart. We accept our weaknesses, and rejoice in our differences.
Happy Thanksgiving to all.