It's the holiday season. Some love it, others loathe it. Are you a grinch, scrooge or are you Santa himself? Have you ever given any thought as to why you feel the way you do about the holidays? I have run the gamut of emotions towards this time of the year. I always looked forward to Thanksgiving because there were foods I didn't get any other time of the year. I always anticipated the day with such joy, I'm not sure why. I would get so excited when people would be coming over and the smells in the house and the preparation. It was all so out of the ordinary and I loved that. Looking back, I spent a great deal of time alone during those holiday celebrations. I never had anyone my age and back then children were seen and not heard. My uncle Tommy was someone that I just loved being around. He rarely paid attention to me looking back, but there was something about him that I just adored! And he was funny, he would tell stories that had everyone laughing (they of course went over my head but I was enthralled with him nonetheless). My mother never sat. Looking back I never remember her enjoying the actual company at Thanksgiving, she was always in the kitchen and as years passed my sister was in there with her. Did they enjoy the day? Not sure. My dad did, that's for sure. He loved it. Having everyone over, playing host---that's his thing. I remember him at the head of the table and my Uncle Tommy at the other. It was safe for me, and comforting.
As the years passed our Thanksgiving turned into less extended family and our family friends came over. Those were memories I loved! It's funny, but now that I'm older the family dynamics of the fact that my aunts and uncles were also my dad's siblings gives me a lot of aha moments that I didn't have back then. The family dynamics that can make or break a holiday. Once the holiday became quieter and it was our closest family friends over I definitely enjoyed it more, was included more. The children should be seen and not heard dynamic was gone more or less because we weren't little anymore. The stories didn't go as far over my head as they used to. It was more fun for me.
Then it became a day for just our immediate family and our significant others. Those were more ordinary (like a regular dinner) a little more stressful (who had to leave at what time to get to their boyfriend/girlfriends family) ---the times had changed. Then my parents moved to Florida and for a few years it was very lost during Thanksgiving. My brother would go to his in laws and my sister and I would go to my Aunts. It was odd. It felt strange. I'll never forget the first year I didn't see anyone in my family on Thanksgiving and the food was so much different than I grew up with. I can feel it like it was this morning---it was awful. That's when I decided I would cook Thanksgiving dinner until the day came that I was physically unable to do it again.
So, in 1988 I started making Thanksgiving dinner and it was hosted at my home every year since. I've missed a few (one the year I moved and once when I was back in NY for Thanksgiving) but other than that Thanksgiving is MY holiday. When Richie turned 5 I started a tradition of giving him a nutcracker every year on Thanksgiving and Danny got a snowman. My goal was that when they moved out of my home they would have their own set of Christmas decorations for their own home. Emily came along and I started her on angels. They look forward to that every year and they each have a nice collection already! Some years it bothers me that my kids don't have a lot of family coming over or anyone other than us. But whenever I suggest inviting anyone or doing something different they look at me like I'm nuts. They love it just being the 4 of us. We started a new tradition of going and seeing a movie after dinner (I started that knowing I would be getting divorced and I didn't want that first Thanksgiving after the divorce to be weird--I worried for nothing!) Last year nothing was playing so we had a Santa Clause 1 2 and 3 marathon. They have great memories. No stress, no strife, nothing but food and football, family and fun. And the food? I have it down to a science--I even get to sit and watch the parade <3
Ha....as I'm typing this my daughter came into the room and said "It's almost Thanksgiving mama. I can't wait for the food! You always make the best food!" And with THAT I am very very Thankful xoxoxo