Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

BG is 4 months, 2 weeks and 6 days old.
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays as all that is really expected is to be thankful and maybe a bird.
It’s also the one major holiday that I feel became my own as an adult. My family weren’t big Thanksgiving folks so as an adult, I really tried to make it something special for me and my husband. Our first Thanksgiving spent together was the first time I got deathly ill and passed it on to my poor husband. I recall how we both took turns crawling in the dark to the bathroom. To this day my husband reminds me how I gave him some crazy virus that knocked him out cold. I remember not only were we unable to keep anything down, we were light sensitive and spent the entire week in bed or the bathroom. I suppose the light sensitivity was a good thing because I’m sure I looked more like a Gorg.
We spent the rest of the Thanksgivings together with his Uncle’s family which warmed my heart. The gatherings were always filled with families and children running back and forth trying to manage visits to both sides of the family. A little turkey here, some stuffing at the in laws, it was amazing to watch them do the Thanksgiving meal-a-thon.
Once we got married, I dreamed of hosting my own special Thanksgiving to incorporate my family. The first year my MIL had the same idea and asked me to host it. That year, I made 3 pies, 1 cake and 1 lb of turkey treats for our two dogs, one cat and my MIL’s 3 dogs who accompanied her during her visit. Our tiny 600 square foot apartment was overrun by animals and yet somehow I managed to accommodate a very large Thanksgiving table and 8 hungry humans and 6 four legged pets. My brother reminds me of how I was so nervous that I made chicken several times the week before to practice carving.
Then sometime during our third year of marriage I felt I was so fortunate I needed to give back and started to volunteer at a church. Every year after, I have volunteered every Thanksgiving morning. I hope the train downtown and walk past the crowds of children and parents watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade smiling at everyone. I then spend 4-5 hours helping serve a hot Thanksgiving meal to elderly folks who don’t have family to go to for Thanksgiving. Several local bands including a big band and a salsa band play music for dancing while hundreds of young and old serve, clean and entertain. Every year I see some of the same faces. We have nametags but in all honesty I don’t recall any of their names just their faces. Our focus is never on us but them. It really makes me happy to be there even for a brief period.
I head home ready to cook my Turkey day meal for my family and enjoy the feast. To organize the day, I generally cook everything in advance and set my oven for the bird. I know it’s a bit more work but it does make the meal taste all the better.
This year, with a new baby, we will be sharing the feast with my husband’s family again. Many of them have not seen BG yet so it will be a nice way to introduce her to the family. Next year, I hope to return to volunteering. I dream that my DH will volunteer with BG as well. He or I can be a hostess instead of a server so BG can attend. A hostess sits at the head of a table to assist the guests with their needs, dietary or otherwise. I want to instill in my daughter that Thanksgiving isn’t just about the bird or the parade but to stop and give thanks and share in the giving that we receive.
Sure, we’ll do the Turkey Day parade and even the inflation of the balloons one day but we all should remember to stop and be thankful for each other.