Here it is, Thanksgiving Day (in Canada). Unbelievably, it was sunny, warm, and really, the most perfect autumn day.
Thanksgiving has been tough for my family in the last few years, it always falls on my Mum’s birthday, which is also the day her younger sister died of breast cancer. As happy as we all are to be together, there is always an empty place at the table, and my mum is never quite herself. Understandably.
Our original traditions began in my house, it used to be my grandparents, but we bought it 5 years ago. My grandparents would have the entire family over; so their 5 kids, my 14 cousins, plus the odd boyfriend, family friend, or person who had no family to join us. Usually we ended up with a good 30 people over for the holiday. Now, our/their house is small. We live in a semi-detached with less than 1000sq feet for the whole thing. What we don’t have in house, we have in yard, almost half an acre, which is unheard of in the city. I digress.
Anyways, my grandmother would prepare the turkey stuffing, (we call it dressing) the day before and leave it out, so it would be a bit stale going into the bird, and my grandfather would get up on thanksgiving day at 4, stuff the turkey and put it in the oven. Due to the size of our family, the turkey was usually between 25 and 27 lbs. That’s a lot of turkey, so it needed a lot of time to cook. At 3pm the family gathered, the kids played in the yard, eventually a family soccer match began, and we sat to eat at 5, well, the kids sat to eat at 5, then the kids did the dishes, and the parents et al sat to eat at 6:30. It was awesome. I miss those days, simple, delicious, perfect.
Fast forward to 2011, my family has shrunk considerably in some respects, my grandparents, and two aunts have passed away, but many of my cousins are now married with kids, or divorced with kids…
This year it was decided to hold Thanksgiving dinner in a local park, people would bring the food, we would eat early, and the kids could play on the playground, feed the ducks etc. In theory it sounds ok. In reality, it sucked balls. I was constantly worried about the kiddo as there were 500 other families with the same idea, the food was cold, and non-traditional, the company was good, although scattered. I didn’t really get to visit much because everyone was too busy watching, or not watching their kids. I will say, my cousin made a lemon cheesecake to die for. That was good.
I feel very selfish in saying all of this. Thanksgiving is about being thankful for what I have, who I have. It is about spending time with the people you love. I love my family, but didn’t spend much time with any of them other than an uncle’s mother who I barely know.
So, I guess, although this year was a bust, I would like to say I am thankful for my crazy ass family. They are a loud, obnoxious bunch, who all love each other. I am thankful that another year has gone by, and we have not needed help, we have put food on our table, clothes on our backs, and we are healthy. I am thankful for the two people in my life who are more important than anyone. I get up each day knowing that as much as I love them, they love me ten fold more.
Well, Happy Thanksgiving, don’t eat too much turkey, and always leave room for pumpkin pie. (Of which there was none of at my get together, so if anyone wants to send me some feel free to message me and I’ll send you my address!)