Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Holiday Gatherings: They are what you make of them

When I was a kid and the holidays rolled around, I never considered that those big family gatherings wouldn't last forever.  I was in the moment, as kids usually are, enjoying my turkey and pie, playing with my cousins, and getting squeezed a little too tightly by that lovable aunt that seems to be in every family.

I wouldn't say I took those years for granted, but I know I could not have appreciated them as much at the time because I had never known anything different. But the kids grow up and the older generations age to the point where you know that a certain era is coming to an end.

In my family, my first real change at the holidays came during my freshman year at BYU.  I am the oldest grandchild, therefore the first to leave the nest.  In an effort to save money, my mom and I decided I would stay in Utah over Thanksgiving break.  One of my friends invited me to her family Thanksgiving.  I don't remember much more than the fact that I was pretty miserable, and I don't think I hid it very well.  My friend's family was perfectly nice and welcoming, but they weren't my family.

That was the last time I missed Thanksgiving in California while I was at school.  Somehow, financially, we made it work.

As time went on, we saw other changes. Cousins joined the military, got married, and moved away, My grandparents declined more and more as they reached their eighties and nineties.

Once my grandparents passed away, Thanksgiving, as well as Christmas, seemed to be in flux, as there was no "Grandma's House" to go to.

When I moved to Washington in 2010, I had only lived here for 2 months when Thanksgiving rolled around and my hubby had to work day shift.  He was a trooper, through, trudging in tired after a 12 hour shift, showering and dressing nice as we sat down at the dining room table.  We ate a little chicken with stuffing and used our beautiful wedding china for the first time.  It was small and simple, and it was fine.

This year, our 4th Thanksgiving together, we are doing small and simple again.  Unlike Year 1 when Hubby came in from 12 hours of day shift. this year he will heading out after we eat to 12 hours of graveyard. Small and simple, again OK.

So tonight I put the Thanksgiving ham into the oven, glazed it the last half hour, sliced it up and put it in the fridge.  Organic russets-- boiled, mashed, and mixed with sour cream and butter--are done and ready to be eaten.  Tomorrow, somewhere around 3pm, we will have our little 2-person Thanksgiving dinner. The menu:  ham, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, salad, and rolls, with pumpkin pie for dessert.

I've been to enough very large holiday dinners to carry me for years.  It isn't about quantity, it is about quality.  We are blessed to have plenty of quality.

So whether you are dining with family or friends, in a big group or a small one, have a wonderful day tomorrow.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Count your blessings
Name them one by one
Count your many blessings
See what God hath done 

1 comment:

MOM said...

I think I also thought those days would go on forever. So glad we have the space now in my house for the gatherings; we didn't before. But...the most important ingredient was the grandparents. Now all we can do is try to make great memories for the four little ones in our family. Wish so many weren't so far. Love my family!