I always tend to get a bit nostalgic at this time of year because there’s so much emphasis on family and the things that tradition tells us we need to emphasize during the Thanksgiving season.
How about those of us who don’t have the “traditional” family unit? Whatever that is any more.
In our case, that’s sort of, kind of, true. Our family has shifted quite a bit, and the closeness of years long ago is no longer there. It doesn’t mean we love them any less, but we love in a different way.
Family dynamics have changed, and we no longer have actual physical gatherings with all of those who are still in our hearts. It’s a way of life, whether we like it or not.
Our traditions have changed. Around our table will be our daughter and son in law and our two granddaughters. Maybe others. Who knows? And we’re all anxiously awaiting next year for the addition of a new grandson who will have joined us after this year’s holiday season.
Our meal will still be the traditional turkey and trimmings, but our daughter won’t be able to enjoy her favorite dishes because she’s been so sick during this pregnancy. Snickerdoodle hummus with crackers appears to be her current menu favorite, with fresh strawberries and fruit dip. Whatever works for her. That’s all that counts.
But I can’t help but look back on Thanksgivings some 20 or so years ago before things started to change, and yes, I still long for those days again.
But then I stop to think about all that’s happened in the intervening years, and I realize I really wouldn’t want to change much of it. Certainly I’d still want my mother with us, but I wouldn’t want the friends we’ve met along the way to no longer be with us. I’d not want to give up my daughter and her husband and our grandchildren for anything in this world.
Unfortunately change happens. Change is inevitable. Families evolve and change as family members move away or sadly, pass away. And our holiday traditions evolve as well. Friends who can’t spend holidays with their families join with us at our Thanksgiving meal, traditional or not.
Friends become the family we choose for ourselves. And that’s ok. Because we no longer live in the world as it was 20 or 30 years ago.
Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks for what we have. For those we love. A time to fellowship and share with others and allow them to share with us.
And that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? Sharing and giving thanks for the blessings we have.
And we have many. Sometimes we forget just how many because we’re all too often complaining that things aren’t the way we think they should be. And we almost overlook the things we should be most grateful for.
And if we stop and think about it, we can list a lot more things to be thankful for than things that we think are wrong in our life.
Try it. Be honest with yourself.
And you’ll see what I mean.