This morning I spent my coffee time doing a little blog reading. As I was reading a post from Barbara of Long Hollow, I found out about a challenge from Suldog called TCF (Thanksgiving Comes First). I then became enthralled in some amazing posts by individuals who were telling their wonderful stories of thanks and lamenting the commercialization of the holiday season. You know what I mean. Show of hands; who had their first Christmas catalog in July this year?? I've expressed many times that Fall is my favorite time of year. It's amazing show of color also brings a palpable feeling of nesting and the desire to draw my family close. I savor every moment. Each event as we approach year end has always been important in my family and as I get older is an integral part of creating a home for my family.
Every year I remember the Thanksgiving tradition I grew up with, but this year is so much more poignant with the loss of Gram a couple of weeks ago. My memory stretches back to the youngest of ages and I picture myself helping Gram prepare Thanksgiving dinner. As a child I was kept busy as dinner approached whisking a cornstarch solution into the drippings to create the perfect gravy. Now, Gram would step in every so often to assist, and it amazed me how her hips would move as she whisked with ease. I hit the tween years and my responsibilities increased to include making the relish tray and being trusted with her baking secrets. As the years passed, I began to spend the night before and we'd get the bread for the stuffing drying, then get up early and be sure the bird was clean and freed of all of her "pin feathers". I was put in charge of the fresh cranberry sauce and loved that I had grown to be an integral part of the process. We'd collapse in the early afternoon and I'd get to sip my first sherry in a moment of celebration just prior to the families arrival. I can still picture, like multiple still Polaroids, snapshots of these Thanksgivings. The family arriving, the lively conversations, the gleam in my grandfather's eye, laughter, food, and gratitude. A deep gratitude, that we could gather together as a family and just be.
When I moved away from home, if work schedules kept us away from home at Thanksgiving, B and I would create a huge feast and invite a few close friends over. We used these years to combine our families amazing recipes and experiment with our own. Now, we have a family of our own. Tradition, and family are of the utmost importance to us, so even though we do not live close to any of our family, we make huge efforts to visit often and not to miss the holidays. After a few years transporting two very small children and trying to split the time between California and Kansas (yes 3 1/2 days in each location, we were insane!) we are now, on an alternating schedule. We spend every other Thanksgiving with each family and then spend Christmas that year with the other family.
Our culture seems to be so enthralled with what is coming next, many get lost and completely miss out on the savoring of every moment. For my adult life (and I'm sure before), Thanksgiving has been seen as a day that is just the tipping point, the top of the mountain for the snowball to begin it's roll down toward Christmas. Thanksgiving is not just a space holder between Halloween and Christmas, it is a day for us to reflect. Maybe we should contemplate the importance of slowing down, spending time with family, creating slow food, and being grateful for all of the blessings that we have. After all, being thankful does come first.
What does Thanksgiving mean to you? Please join in!