Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Traditional Thanksgiving

It's been a while since I've done a prompt from Mama Kat. In honor of the big day tomorrow and my desire to actually write something that isn't about books that I haven't read or the life I wish I had (i.e. the life of a glamorous stay-at-home-mom), here's what I've got:

2.) What traditions do you carry on with your family each year?

This is a year of breaking traditions and starting new ones. A year of finally, finally feeling like we're doing the holiday for our family and not someone else's (though, I suppose our extended family is our family, but you know, it's not quite the same thing--they don't have to deal with the cranky toddler and man after a long and crazy day).

Over the last five years, since DOH and I were first together, we've been battling how to arrange this frenetic time of year. Who's house do we go to? If we go this place at this time, will we be able to go to the other place? Should we eat there and not at the other? Who are we more comfortable offending by not eating their food/not staying quite as long? (Somehow my family seemed to always get the short end of the stick on that one, mostly because they wouldn't get offended, I'd just hear, "I wish you could have stayed a bit longer, Kirsten," fifty-billion times.) And after having Lizzie, it only got that much worse, because, of course, both sides of the family wanted the only grandchild/great-grandchild at their table for her first (and second, and third, and fourth...) Thanksgiving.

The Thanksgiving Day traditions of olde (and I use the "e" to emphasize how old I really mean, like six or seven years ago old, when I still had braces and stuff) were much more Norman Rockwell-esque. I'd force my brother to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade with me. We'd stay in our P.J.'s until noon. Mom would be busy in the kitchen. My dad would be off picking up last minute supplies. Later on, everyone, my parents, brother, grandparents, and a smattering of my aunts and uncles (depending on who was around or what state we were in, Maine or Massachusetts), would gather around the dining room table with every sort of food you could ask for, we would gorge ourselves, then laze about the house, football game on, maybe play a game of Skip-Bo or Phase 10, then around 7 or 8 o'clock the adults would break out the wine and leftovers, gorge once more, and pass out in recliners and on sofas. It may seem small, but it was perfect. I was a weird sort of teenager in that I enjoyed being around my family, even my parents, and I cherish the memories and, even more than that, the feeling of safety, comfort, and happiness that I felt when I was around them on these special days. Plus, it paid off having all those adults loosened up, because I ended up having plenty of spending money when I would hit the stores with my friend in Newburyport, MA the following Saturdays (per tradition) to do some personal Christmas shopping and enjoy Starbucks (which, I swear, we did not have in Maine at the time).

But, as I said from the start, this year is different. It's not going to be like Ye Olde T-Day, where it's one house, one day of relaxation, one awesome freaking parade (which I will MISS for the first time EVER this year). But it's also not going to be the Thanksgiving Marathon and stress-fest it's been in years past. We still go to the two sides of the family, but we've coordinated it in such a way, that we've allotted at least a couple hours at each house and we end the night a mere twenty minutes away from home (as opposed to an hour or more). While those wonderful feelings of safety, comfort, and happiness have been a bit fleeting over the last few years, I can already sense (in an almost a Zen like way), that tomorrow will be different. It will begin a new era of Thanksgiving traditions and Thanksgiving days that Lizzie can look back upon and have the same feelings stir inside her own heart I felt growing up, where she feels the love and comfort of her families and is lucky enough to have the day with both sides.

But could someone please record the parade for me?

1 comment:

SUPAHMAMA! said...

To be so very honest, I don't think I've EVER watched the parade! We always watched the Christmas movie/cartoon marathons post stuffing ourselves. :) That is a new tradition I'm going with in our house. Let the kids stay up as long as they can stand it to watch a Charlie Brown Christmas marathon!

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