I am thankful to the pilgrims. I am not sure our school day history lessons are accurate in regards to the so called Thanksgiving Day feast we celebrate each year, but I don’t give a hooey. Our nation has embraced a custom that gathers families and friends each year in a spirit of thanks and that is what matters.
Most of us have some form of ritual and tradition which we practice and carry forward with our prospective families. As most families in America we will buy our turkey and will bake or fry (a new thing) it. We will stuff the turkey; albeit with all kinds of different trimmings. If there is going to be a bone of contention at ones' celebration, what to put in the stuffing will be one of them. Everyone seems to have things they “love” and must have in the stuffing, while for others a certain addition will ruin the experience. There will be yams, sweet potatoes in one form or another and cranberry sauce from a can or the real deal depending on whose family tradition we are following. Probably a green bean casserole and mashed potatoes as well. There will be various breads or roles and the piece-de-resistance pumpkin pie among a litany of other things.
From family to family traditions will vary. They may include a formal sit down dinner or even a restaurant, but for many the expectation for the day is football fever. My experience growing up was the latter. I remember vividly the women in the kitchen were working all day while the men were in the living room, where football was king. Early on I knew this was not the kind of Thanksgiving celebration I wanted to carry forward and when I was old enough to have a family and create my own traditions I aimed for the sit down dinner. Ironically, now that my children are grown and creating Thanksgiving traditions of their own, football reins king in their homes. Alas, I may have to wait for the tide to turn in the next generation?
Be that as it may, I am enamored and proud, as year after year, I know my daughter living far away is the master of Thanksgiving central to family members living there. She has created a tradition for those who without her would have missed out on yearly traditions and family comradery, so far from their homes. She plans, she shops, she cooks, she cleans, and she is the mama hen for them all.
My son and his young wife are newlyweds and are still trying to figure it all out. They have the push and pull from family members on both sides and commitments of their own. Although their house is small it may be easier to host in their home rather than run about. This also allows them the opportunity to begin the process of creating their own traditions; which for them will include U.T. football.
All this is to say how wondrous it is to see a family at its best. Holidays help families to reconnect, remember and renew in their difficult endeavor to remain close yet maintain autonomy as they juggle their commitments and pursue life’s goals.
Thank you “Pilgrims” I again look forward to a day of fun, food and family. Life is Good!
Tara Ubelhor M.Ed., LPC