Thanksgiving is my holiday.
I have nine brothers and sisters and a tradition evolved where one of us regularly hosts the family gathering at specific major holidays. Ever since my dad passed away, I became the impresario of our Thanksgiving gala, an event held in a rented tent in the backyard filled with 30-60 relatives and friends.
Another part of the tradition is that I make 30 pounds of my special onion-laced mashed potatoes.
It isn’t as much fun as it used to be now
that my kids have grown up. Sadly, vivid images of my children cleaning and mashing the potatoes have been consigned to my museum of memories.
The mashing part was always the most meaningful because I always use a bent pink-handled masher that was my mom’s. It gave me a chance to tell my daughters about the terrific grandma they never met.
I’ve come to see these annual get-togethers as a family scrapbook recording the inevitable flow of life. The ever-changing population of our full tent represents and reveals the march of time. Everyone keeps getting older – the infants became toddlers, little kids became teenagers, teenagers turned into young adults, the young adults became parents and the rest of us became bona fide senior citizens.
While I sometimes find myself wistfully missing a lot of things that were but never will be again, when the time comes for each family member to report good news and express thanks, I once again look at my family and my life with such a profound sense of gratitude that I always have a happy Thanksgiving.