Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thank you, merci, danke, grazie, etc.

There was a time when I almost hated holidays like Thanksgiving. It's not that I don't like the idea of getting together with loved ones or the copious amounts of comfort food. If there was ever a hobbitesque, second breakfast kind of people, it's my family. It is more that I always felt there was something missing.

Growing up, my family felt small. My paternal grandparents died when I was young. There were relatives in Germany, but they were too far away to come for holidays, especially Thanksgiving. Oddly enough, Germans don't care so much about the pilgrims or their wild poultry. So, most of the time, it was just the three of us. My dad would watch football and my mom would cook like she did every night. The preparations just took a little longer. Thanksgiving felt like any other day, but with turkey, yam casserole and a hollow sense of being this lonely little familial island in a neighborhood full of packed driveways and holiday cheer. Of course, now I know that it is not the size of the family, but the love in it that is important. Spend a Thanksgiving on the prairie eating fettucine alfredo while watching an interminable movie about a lonely beekeeper with an almost stranger who also couldn't afford to fly home for the holiday, and you will know how true it is!

It was not until I was older that I realized that we make our own families. I have a few relatives in the area, but my blood family itself is small. At this point, there is just my mom left. I do, however, have a huge family of the heart. This year I had more Thanksgiving invitations than I could attend. It pains me that there are not four of me, so we could go to each one and that I couldn't accept the invitation I most wanted to attend, but it also makes me happy to know that I am blessed in having such a big adopted family.

So, wherever you are and whoever you area, if you are reading this (and even if you are not), I hope this autumn night finds you warm, happy and, most of all, with the people you love.