Thanksgiving 2015 has come and gone, and right behind it is Christmas! Before I get too immersed in Christmas preparations, I want to celebrate with a thankful heart the blessings of Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. The reasons for this are simple. Our family has been coming together in North Carolina (most years in Raleigh) from as far away as Maryland to Florida (and this year from California) for most of 30+ years. Our numbers have grown; this year we had 60 people! Most of the crowd is family, and some chosen family added in, ranging in age this year from 3 (our granddaughter Virginia) to soon to be 92 (Mike’s dad.) It is always a blessing to me that the family loves to be together so much that they travel the distance, putting up with the before and after traffic, and cook together for days to feed the crowd. For the Thanksgiving meal is only one meal of several that must be prepared, for we are feeding the crowd ,which is likely only 45-50 people for meals other than the main meal, although we didn’t count all of those, from Wednesday through Friday. There are also the tables to be set, dishes to be washed, and linens to be laundered. (For we have cloth napkins and mainly turkey plates, and not paper. Some of the adult children wanted red solo cups this year, but I was able to keep the glasses one more year!) However I was successful in convincing Mike to purchase a secondary dishwasher, which made the dish duty more manageable for everyone. When Mike wondered why we needed an additional dishwasher, I chose not to debate the issue, and he acquiesced, thankfully.
When I tell others the number of people we have at our Thanksgiving tables they are amazed, expressing wonder. I am quick to tell them that it is by no means me doing all of the work, for we are a family of cooks. It is quite a production, however, for the house is being prepared weeks before and there is the putting Thanksgiving away and doing laundry happening for days after. And it is worth every effort. Tales of Thanksgivings past, including the adult children telling the younger children how they advanced from a pallet on the floor to a bed, and all of the memories that are shared and created year to year, make all of the effort more than worth it.
I am so thankful for this family, everyone of them, and the love we all have for each other. We, like all families, have had some times when there was conflict, usually over unimportant things, but we hung in there as a family and weathered those times, and we are so much stronger as a family because of that. I am thankful that we have had the commitment to be together this one time a year, and think that such has something to do with keeping this family strong.
There will come a time when some of us are no longer here, or need to pass the torch because we are no longer physically able to do the grocery shopping, cooking, and cleaning. Hopefully the daughters and sons and nieces and nephews will pick up the torch, and carry on.
Even if it is with red solo cups.