Today is Thanksgiving day.
This past summer we went to Plymouth Rock and Plymouth Plantation during our vacation to Cape Cod. I talked to my Aunt a lot about the American Thanksgiving. I know about the pilgrims, the harvest, etc. but it seems to be such a MAJOR holiday, which is a bit funny to me because as soon as it is over, it's full steam ahead for Christmas.
She told me, that in her opinion, many people almost like Thanksgiving more than Christmas because it's all about family being together, eating of course, but not the pressures of gifts, decorations, trees, outdoor lights, etc. It's just a great day.
In Canada, we celebrate Thanksgiving in October. The celebration of the harvest. It's all on it's own, no where near Christmas and a few weeks before Hallowe'en. Sometimes it's almost easy to overlook (for me anyway).
After our summer holiday, I decided that I liked the idea of day together with no commercial pressures. I wanted to go all out for this year's Thanksgiving.
So I hosted a Thanksgiving like I had never done before. It was TOTALLY from scratch. My husband was the chef and cooked an outstanding turkey, stuffing and all the fixin's, including regular and gluten-free gravy - what a treat! I was chief house-cleaner and then dressed my table in it's holiday best. We even sang "The Turkey Song" - a tradition for grace that has been in my family for five generations, originating with my Great-Grandmother in Boothbay Harbour.
And we celebrated with friends - not family. That was new for me.
I love my family. We have celebrated practically every holiday together my entire life - extended family included. We have driven, taken the train and plane, made every effort to be together. It's very important to everyone.
But this year I wanted to host Thanksgiving and I (meaning my husband and I) wanted to "do" it our way. My mother is a bit of a control freak. OK, she's a big control freak. My husband, who does an amazing turkey - his way mind you, has tried to lessen the turkey-roasting burden and as much as she professes to want to, she just can't let go. She hovers, tsk-tsks, "offers" suggestions, etc, etc. In fact, two Easters ago, my sister couldn't even entertain the thoughts of Mom "not doing the turkey", and we had Easter Salmon on the BBQ instead (my Mom doesn't bbq).
So I didn't invite my parents. That was hard - especially because I knew my Dad would have loved it. My husband and my father like "turkey dinner" the same way. In the beginning, I honestly thought my Mom was going to be visiting my sister and her family over the holiday and I knew Dad wouldn't come in on his own, so that was fine. Then I found out that my Mom was going to visit over Hallowe'en and that they were home alone. By then I had invited another family to share our table and I decided to keep it at that. It was hard. My Mom was happy for us, that we were going to be having a fun time in our own home. But I know she would have come. She even asked if it was because of "comments" she had made the last time Frank tried to cook the turkey and I didn't have the heart to say it was a factor. I probably should have told the truth, but I just couldn't do it.
But we had an amazing evening. Frank even made an awesome pumpkin cheesecake for dessert (gluten-free no less and yummy for all). My friends brought chocolate fondue with fruit, a sweet potato casserole and candied carrots. It was truly an evening shared and enjoyed. I felt very thankful. And even though the evening was with friends and not family this year, it felt right.
Happy Thanksgiving - although for many I may seem to be a bit early :)