This year, Paul and I are hosting most of the Newman family for Thanksgiving. Our family traditions center around the standard fare: a big meal, anchored by a large turkey, consumed by a group of mostly blood relatives. We’re in charge of preparing the bird, while the rest of the gang bring a variety of delicious side dishes and desserts. After so many childhood Thanksgivings of watching the hostess juggle all of it herself, I feel like I’m getting off easy.
We actually had an early celebration two weeks ago with my midwest sister and her partner, but since I didn’t do any cooking at all for that lovely day, this still feels like the first Thanksgiving without my Mom. She’ll be talking to me as I prepare the stuffing (her favorite part of the meal) and check if the turkey is done (wiggle the legs, check the juice runs clear; you can’t rely on that silly plastic pop-up thing). She always called it her favorite holiday, because it prioritizes family togetherness and eliminates the stresses of shopping and gift-giving.
Besides food, we will make new memories over jigsaw puzzles and card games and chatter about books and boats and computers and college. Between dinner and dessert, we might get out for a walk. And there will definitely be candles on a cake to recognize the concurrent birthdays of my niece and nephew.
It all sounds so simple, but gathering together with my family of origin is always a special treat. I hadn’t thought about how rare it is to really enjoy spending time with blood relatives until a friend pointed out how well we all get along; this year, I’m going to really try to appreciate something I usually take for granted.
(Hmm. If I can’t name a crazy relative… does that mean it’s me?)
I’m also very grateful that you all stop by here every Thursday. I hope you have a great day enjoying your own traditions, even if—especially if—they are far more off-beat than mine. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I’ll be back to more usual topics next week.