Well we made it, another Thanksgiving in the bag. For Meg and I the holiday is really about family. We both have really large extended families, and have many family friends that are like family. This year held a new record for us, 5 separate full Thanksgiving dinners!
Thursday was, of course, the biggest day. We first had dinner with one of Meg's side of the family at 11:00. This was followed shortly after by dinner with my parents and my immediate family at 1:30. From there we enjoyed a bit of a respite and some couch time. Our next dinner was at 5:00, and after food and old photos alike were digested, we got home about 9:00. It truly was a marathon of good food. You really have to pace yourself when you have three large meals like this is a short amount of time. I have to say I'm getting rather good at it. I didn't once feel stuffed, which is saying something.
Friday we had dinner with a close family friend in the evening. Her house is always lovely, and she had been cooking most of the day. Out of all the dinners, this one had the best food all around. Everything was prepared from scratch, largely with local or organic ingredients. It was amazing. After preparing for the meal all day at work, I did eat my fill! This dinner was also the smallest, just Meg's mom, Meg, Chris and I. We played a relaxing game of dice with a great cup of tea to round out the evening. It was great.
Saturday was the last, and by far the biggest meal of the season. My mom comes from a large stereotypical Catholic farm family of 12. It makes for a huge group of some of the best people you can imagine. I have a ton of cousins ranging from ones older than I am with children, to some young enough to just be walking. It makes for the most raucous, busy, and enjoyable dinners! There's always tons of food, 10 or 12 pies, stuffing, potatoes, and salads and desserts. We had it at my aunt's house just down the road from the family farm this year. Meg and I had to work on Saturday, so we arrived quite a bit later than everyone. We had a later dinner then, and saw most everyone before they left. We ended up hanging around rather late with just a few of my aunts and uncles, my mom, and the youngest of my cousins to entertain us. It was really nice to be able to sit down and just bullshit for a while. As you can imagine, quiet conversation is a bit much to ask for when you put that many people in the house. It was a great holiday!
There are so many things to be thankful for this time of year. For me, it comes down to family, friends, and health. I think that if a person has these things, everything else is secondary. I am hugely thankful for my family, who have supported me to the utmost in everything I've wanted to do. Without the large group of friends I never would have seen so much. I am supremely blessed with a support network of more people than I can mention, to whom I owe all that I am and all that I have.
I am thankful for my good health. Everyone knows someone who is suffering. We all have stories of tragedies both avoidable and unavoidable in our lives. To me, that is the most important thing to be thankful for, as it is largely out of our control. Several people I know have told stories recently of friends or family in times of true hardship and loss. People with terminal cancer, a friend dying unexpectedly in a car accident, an addiction to drugs of alcohol. These things rock us and our beliefs to the very core questions in life. They represent the hardest things I can think of to overcome, irregardless of our place and standing in the world. I am thankful for the good health in my life. At the same time take this time of year to remember those who have passed, and those still fighting.
Lastly, I am thankful for good news. We learned this fall that my sister is pregnant. I am so excited, and my family is as well. As with many of these things, the timing is less than ideal, but the end result is the same. What a joy, and what a perfect example of what we can all be thankful for this year. The starting of a new life, the challenges and rewards to come, and remembering how it all started. Take care, be merry, and a happy Thanksgiving to all.