I’m headed home Wednesday for Thanksgiving in New Jersey. It’ll be our family’s first Thanksgiving with the new member of our third generation, Jack Michael.
We’ve always been a pretty nuclear family, just the four of us, five since my sister got married. There are a total of 10 aunts and uncles and 14 cousins but we’re close to none of them, really. Depending on the state of various marriages, we’d have an uncle at the holiday dinner table from time to time, but with all the grandparents gone, there’s been no consistent extended family presence.
This has its advantages. We don’t dress for holiday dinner–jeans are entirely acceptable, as are slippers and sweatshirts. We eat dinner in the dining room, but mostly because, like Everest, it’s there and the extra room for all the dishes is useful. Dessert is most often consumed in front of the tv, after some number of us have woken up from post-dinner naps. That’s usually when my mother and sister start plotting their early morning Black Friday shopping trip while my brother-in-law, father and I roll our eyes.
These are our traditions, and while they’ve felt thin on the ground to me from time to time, now these little traditions of ours will be the way holidays just always have been for Jack.
I’m not a very mushy person, but I’d be remiss not to acknowledge the many, many things I have to be grateful for, including the health and happiness of my family and friends, the challenges and rewards of my work, and the very basic things like food, warmth and shelter that so many cannot imagine taking for granted.
There are thousands of great organizations doing good work throughout the holiday season and all year long, and I hope you’ll consider making a gift of thanks to one that does work that is meaningful to you. Tonight, I’ve made a gift of thanks to So Others May Eat, an interfaith, community-based organization that exists to help the poor and homeless of our nation’s capital.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!