Saturday, November 26, 2022

Thanksgiving 2022 Ever Changing

Well it is a few days past Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday. I like to cook for a crowd and I love that we get together with no super scheduled plans in the day, other than to eat. The only real objective is that everyone coming needs to come by the time we eat. It usually is an early meal around 1 pm with leftovers dug out of the fridge around supper time before everyone goes home. It has been that way forever, since I was little and going to my grandparent’s house to be with all my cousins and family and those outside the family who would join us to celebrate the holiday. My grandma’s last Thanksgiving there were close to 65 people at her little house. She always had a heart to take in all who wanted to stop by. And somehow she always had room in her little house.

In the past years we have usually had our kids and grandkids and possibly a few people who had nowhere to go because their family wasn’t located close to them at our house. Our house has always been open to anyone wanting to come join our family for the day. There have been years past where we have had close to 30 here at the house to feast on a few turkeys and all the sides. And of course pumpkin pie and other sweet things to graze on throughout the day. Somehow there is always plenty of food as everyone usually brings something to share. There is never a lack of food, no matter how many people show up.

The year that Covid left so many home and alone, we managed to have our kids and grandkids that were living in Minnesota over for the day. It was still a fun time to let all the grandkids race around the house and outside if the weather permitted. There was noise and lots of activity while the grown-ups sat around and visited about the sales on Black Friday and scoping out their plans for shopping. For me, it was a time to sit back and watch the flurry of activity from the grandkids and listen in on the strategic shopping that would be happening the next day. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. When I was a kid, getting to see all my cousins was always a great time. And once grown and having to “adult” my way through Thanksgiving, I have come to work my tail off getting everything ready and then, just  like my Grandma, the day comes and I sit back and watch the flurry of activity. It is at that moment I realize all of the blessings surrounding me. There are many.

One by one, I try to get some time with each grandkid and visit with them. They might tell me a funny story or sit on my lap while they eat their 3rd or 4th pumpkin bar. It is always safe on my lap because the parents are busy chatting and not paying attention to what the grandkids and I are doing. It usually is safe territory. As I sit there and listen to them, I am made aware of how much they are growing into incredibly great people. Just one more realization of what a great life I have been given. 

This year, while being another great Thanksgiving, it was different compared to others. The past 2 years, while only having our daughter and her family here, it has been more subdued. The other kids and their families are all out of state and do their own thing. It has been well over 4 years since all 4 of the kids and their families were all back here at the same time. Between Covid, jobs, travel expenses and just trying to get everyone on the same schedule to come home at the same time, let’s just say it is somewhat like herding a bunch of cats. I am pretty sure it may never happen again in my lifetime, or at least while I am coherent enough to appreciate it. If I were to think too hard about that, it could make a person downright sad.

Even with fewer people together and less family gathered around the table this year, I still found myself sitting back and taking inventory of all of the blessings that continue to surround me. As I was sitting next to the 4 year old, he looked up at me and asked me if I was happy he came to my house to eat turkey? I got a little choked up for a second looking down at him beaming from ear to ear. This is the grandson who was in the NICU his first 5 months of life due to being born too early. He weighed in at a little over 2 lbs when he was born and now is 35 lbs and a typical 4 year old little guy. I scooped him up and held him tight and all I could say is, “Yep you made this grandma’s favorite day”. He just smiled back and grabbed another pumpkin bar. 

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