Last Thanksgiving my daughter was not in Paris. She was in my kitchen…
“dressing” the turkey in a non-traditional way, with an aluminum foil bikini that when removed revealed “tan lines”,
treating us to new and delicious recipes,
quietly filling the place with her presence.
This young lady is the Mother of Thanksgiving as We Know It in my family. When the kids were small we almost always celebrated Thanksgiving at home, just our little family. This became our tradition after years of my in-laws keeping track of every holiday and visit spent with one side of the family or the other and then complaining about the scorecard. It ended up being easier and more enjoyable to defuse the annual fight by not going anywhere.
My Thanksgivings as a child were days of excitement filled with people, food and joy. It didn’t occur to me that we were depriving our own children of the same loving celebrations until Thanksgiving 2001.
The phone began ringing in early November 2001. My brothers and sisters called one by one to say they would be joining us for a Thanksgiving feast. My initial reaction was, ‘Well, OK! That sounds fun.’ But by the third or fourth call I began to question them. What gave everyone the same idea this year?
My daughter in all her 3rd grade wisdom saw what I did not, that we were missing the fleeting opportunity to celebrate the goodness of life with people we love. Unbeknownst to me, she had sent out a stack of handmade invitations and had successfully gathered aunts, uncles, cousins and grandma from the four corners.
The house was filled to overflowing that Thanksgiving Day. Dining tables were set in the family room, the kitchen, the living room and the dining room. Story telling and laughter made the day fly. My children experienced the kind of Thanksgiving that I knew in my own childhood. Tradition was reborn that year because a little girl sent out a loving invitation and quietly waited for family to gather once more.
We will miss you, Sweetheart! Prepare to Skype! And have a Happy Thanksgiving half way ’round the world.