Thanksgiving was weird this year. Not necessarily bad, just very, very, different. As the girl who is always adamant that traditions be followed to a tee, it's a wonderment that I didn't freak out that we didn't do the same thing we've done since I can remember: Thanksgiving potluck with family friends, make a pecan pie and mulled cider to bring, watch The Princess Bride.
But, as the years have gone by, the kids have grown up and started families of their own, each going off to their in-laws or starting traditions of their own. While I was in college, I insisted that we do everything exactly as we had always done in years gone by whether that was our tradition of reading Lord of the Rings around the first fire of the season, trimming the tree together, or a myriad of other holiday festivities. There was so much constant transition in my life at the time that I needed an anchor on which to attach myself. But now, so much has changed that I think I would make myself crazy if I tried to keep everything as it always was.
This year, I celebrated Thanksgiving with just my dad, my sister, and my niece. My mom left for her hometown of Houston two weeks ago to be with my grandmother as she goes through multiple tests and surgeries, so she is absent from our table until February which seems strange and wrong. Yet, despite all the changes and upheavals, Thursday was comforting and relaxing. I made the turkey for the first time ever in my life and, not to toot my own horn or anything, but it came out damn good. I spent the night at my parent's house on Wednesday and Thursday and we all had such a grand old time cooking and eating together. We also had a Lord of the Rings marathon over the weekend where we watched all three extended versions of the movie.
Despite not doing what we had done since time began, part of me doesn't really care about following every little tradition as long as I am surrounded by family and love. It's no wonder this is my favorite time of year. Looking ahead to Christmas, I'm already getting excited about the lobster and the calamari and the home-made Italian pizza and calzones, the lights and the caroling and the trimming of the tree. One thing I'm not looking forward to: shopping crowds. Maybe I'll do what I did last year and just get all my shopping done online...hmmm, sounds like a good idea...