What are we having this Thanksgiving?
BackstoryThe turkey was done. It sat in the middle of my giant kitchen table surrounded by cranberry salad, sweet potatoes, and other companions to the American holiday. The day did not feel like a holiday. Our family was to congregate in a matter of minutes and, although I had gone through all of the motions, I was not in a holiday mood.
Thanksgivings past were centered around my Aunt Marjorie, our matriarch. This was her favorite holiday. Her recent death leaving holes in our hearts. Subtracting a painful divorce of an uncle and a missing cousin to our small family meant that our numbers in recent years had dwindled. My children wouldn't know the hustle-bustle of a big holiday gathering.
But this is not why I was feeling so lackluster. The day felt normal. And not in a good way. Through my uncle's divorce and my aunt's death we had become what onlookers would dub "a close family." It started off merely by necessity. At the time of his parent's divorce my cousin was a teenage boy. And he was hungry. And I love to cook. My brother and his then-fiancée joined us for dinner. They even brought a dish. My uncle, still reeling from divorce, hadn't planned anything for dinner and stopped by a store to get the bread. My parents couldn't be left out, so they came as well. When dinner was done we decided to do it again the next week, on Thursday.Some friends added on. And another couple with no family of their own began to come. And a single friend or two...
And it continued. Every Thursday. We have dinner together as if we are celebrating something. My small dwindling family unit grew until there are right around twenty of us every week.
And now it felt normal. Like nothing special. Thanksgiving had become just another Thursday.
It wasn't until I started bumping into people in my kitchen minutes later that it hit me: Thanksgiving did not become just another Thursday, Thursdays became Thanksgivings. The hustle-bustle that I wanted happened every week. Thursday's became what holidays should be: a time spent surrounded by those that you love and who love you back. We just don't have turkey every Thanksgiving.