Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of all time. I love the food, the smells, the crowd, the preparation. I love having people I love around me and I love that you can eat really good food and you don’t have to rush off to synagogue.
I’ve made Thanksgiving for most of the last 30 years. For many of them it was the same crowd, give or take; the four of us, our ‘best-friend’ family, my mother, maybe my brother and his family. Some years we included some other friends, some years there was a boyfriend or so, some years somebody was out of town, like the year youngest was at her Disney internship and I got to make two Thanksgivings – the second of which was Thanksgiving-Shabbat when she was in town early in November.
Last year I didn’t do Thanksgiving. Mr. Ex had just moved out, and oldest wanted to do it anyway. It seemed like a good year to be a guest instead of a host. I missed it though – big time.
This year, it seemed that nobody in my son-in-law’s family was really excited about making the holiday. Oldest is making seder so two big holidays didn’t excite her, and everyone else has “their” holiday. Wow… my favorite holiday and it’s up for grabs. So, I grabbed it.
Yes, people. I’m having 20 guests for Thanksgiving and I’m only really related to two – my daughter and my brother.
And I couldn’t be more excited. First, I’m thrilled to be able to host these wonderful people who have welcomed me into their homes for the last year – holidays, birthdays, whatever. They consider me part of their family and I am honored and humbled to be included. I adore my son-in-law’s niece and nephew and have grown to be very fond of his cousins and their families.
No doubt, it will be different. My mother is gone, Mr. Ex won’t be there (wow – the possibility of non-vegetarian stuffing is almost intoxicating. Sausage-and-corn-bread here I come), and our former ‘best-friend’ family is no more, since I kind of lost them in the divorce. Yes, there’s no question that this will be different.
But I will still be with a whole bunch of people of whom I’m very fond – even love – and who have been good to me. And, in the end, we’ll all remember all the things for which we’re grateful.
As my late father would say, prost! (translation: cheers!)