Thursday, November 22, 2012

A Different Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving has never been one of my favorite celebrations.  This is not because I have something against giving thanks or expressing gratitude for all the blessings that I have been given; it is because the sentiment behind Thanksgiving has been buried amidst parades, football, shopping and way too much food.  Hours and hours are spent preparing various dishes for a meal that takes twenty minutes to consume and which is then followed by hours and hours packaging leftovers and washing dishes and dishes and more dishes.  I would come to the end of the day exhausted and not very grateful for much of anything.

This year was different.

First of all, I received several emails and text messages first thing this morning from friends wishing me a happy Thanksgiving.  In reading and then responding to each message, I was reminded how blessed I am to be surrounded by such wonderful and caring people.  For that, I give thanks.

Secondly, for the first time in almost thirty years, I was not the one primarily responsible for preparing for Thanksgiving.  I have always had help cooking, but not in the cleaning, etc. that is necessary when you are feeding lots of people at your house.  Erin took on the hosting of the Thanksgiving meal this year.  In doing so, we were all assigned what to bring.

I was assigned homemade bread and chocolate chip pie.  Weber was in charge of the smoked turkey.

We did not know until late last week that Brooke was going to be able to come home this week.  That is another thing for which I am grateful.  She has not been home since last Christmas.  It was great to have all of us together.  

Because we did not expect Brooke to be here, she didn't have a specific dish assigned.  Being one who is full of recipes, she added roasted brussels sprouts and leek bread pudding.  The Denton crowd (Erin, Edgar, Mike and Jason) fixed everything else.  Though it felt a bit strange not running around frantically this morning making sure that everything was on course for the gathering,  it was kind of nice not have to worry about all the details of the meal.  There were thirteen of us for dinner - all of our family and Edgar's (Erin's boyfriend) family as well.

In addition to the food, Erin also asked me to bring my camera to take pictures of her and Edgar.  We didn't really take the time to do it right, but I got a few cute pictures of the two of them.

And also a couple of each of the girls.

It has long been our tradition to play games after dinner.  In the past we have often opted for Trivial Pursuit, but with as many people as we had present tonight, it would have likely been next Thanksgiving before we got through a single round of questions!  So tonight the game of choice was Apples to Apples.  It is a silly game and a great bit of fun, especially with a big group of people. 

Apples to Apples involves two decks of game cards - one deck has words such as funny, ugly, stereotyped, dishonest and so on.  The other deck has names of people, places and things.  On your turn, you choose a card from the deck of description words.  Then each person chooses a card from their hand of seven noun cards that they think best fits the description.  The person whose turn it is then chooses which noun card they like best as an example of their word.  There are no rules about how this decision is made.  If your word is chosen then you win the round.  It is a whole lot more fun than it sounds here!

During one of the rounds, the descriptor word that was played was "sad."  Some of the cards that were played for this were bankruptcy, school bus, forest fire, and divorce.  Playing the "divorce" card here could have been touchy considering that the lives of all of us there have been touched by divorce in one way or another.  I wondered if that was the card that would be chosen as the "winner."  Edgar chimed in and said, "Divorce isn't necessarily sad.  It makes your family bigger."  What a great way to look at it!

I had hoped to get a picture of our whole family together, but I never quite got there.  There was a lot going on. I did manage a pictures of almost everyone.  Here is Jason, one of the two stepdads.

 We are all having dinner together again on Saturday evening; I'll definitely make sure that I get the group photo then.

For my family and friends I am grateful.  For a wonderful meal, I am thankful.  And, for a new appreciation of Thanksgiving as a day of celebration, I am Thankful.

I hope that you all had a thanks-filled day.