Thanksgiving at our house is quite different from how it was when I was growing up. While it is just as special, and I would not trade it for the world, I certainly did have some very good memories of Thanksgiving at my grandparents house with almost every member of our extended family present.
If you can not tell how old this picture is by the clothing alone, let me point out that I am the little one being held in the back and that might help you guess the year. And that was only SOME of the family, I think a lot of people just refused to get in the picture because I know there were a lot more people there.
Years went by, we all grew up, but we still went over to grandma's for Thanksgiving. In case you are wondering, I am the one in the red and white near the front of the picture. Everyone would bring something, the turkey would be cooked at my grandma and grandpa's house and sometime during the day all the ladies and kids would take a walk around the neighborhood, sometimes exploring trails, other times just to burn off some of those extra calories. And the guys, they always would entertain us with a tackle football game played outside in a field by the house. We would all sit around while dads, uncles, and cousins would tackle each other to the ground and try to stop the other team from scoring a goal.
But times change, grandkids start having their own families, grandparents pass away, and somehow, it is no longer the same. I miss those years. The time spent with cousins, the time spent seeing aunts and uncles that live out of state. But, I had my own family and we had to create our own memories.
Most of my family lives on the east coast or in the south, so we have a quieter meal at our house, I cook all the food on my own, starting with the pies the night before. I love cooking and actually look forward to this day all year round. It is a peaceful time, a time to celebrate all we have, but it is us as a family, being real. We don't have to be prim and proper, we dont have to get dressed up. It is a come as you are, be as you are kinda day, with yummy foods to snack on while everyone waits with anticipation for the big meal.
We make our own traditions...
baking cookies for Santa,
Cutting down our own Christmas tree at the tree farm..
And if it snows enough, making giants snowmen with friends...
No, my children will not have the same large family gatherings on holidays that I did growing up, but we have our own traditions and are making our own memories. We are loving life, and living it to the fullest, and feeling blessed for what we do have. It isn't like my childhood, this is my children's childhood. One with parents who surround them with love every change they get and make sure they never doubt for a moment how much they are loved.
This year, we were blessed to add two more little ones to our Thanksgiving table and can hardly wait until Christmas.
And one day, our kids will talk about their memories growing up. I hope they remember, even if their traditions become different than ours, how special and magical their holidays were when they were young, just as I remember mine.