I’ve lived through a great many Thanksgivings and I’m fortunate enough to have stuck around to enjoy the day after Thanksgiving.
It’s definitely one of my favorite holidays, primarily because there’s no pretense. There’s no indulgence of high fat, high carb, high calorie foods followed by the nagging feeling that we should really be remembering the real meaning of Thanksgiving.
For those that celebrate Christmas, you know exactly what I mean. The confusion of bargain shopping and Santa Claus and baby Jesus and the real meaning of Christmas. And it’s always followed by the day after Christmas, a day of epic letdown for me.
The holiday builds and builds and builds. We shop, we bake, we decorate. We attend parties and exchange gifts and celebrate the fact that we’ve made it to the end of the year, to the season of peace. And in one day, often times one morning, it’s over and done. And it feels like such a letdown. We struggle to make it to New Year’s Eve and celebrate the start of a new year, but frankly I’m usually not ready to do it all over again so soon.
Thanksgiving, on the other hand, has none of that. Thanksgiving is an American tradition to bring together food, family, friends, and fellowship for a day of pure enjoyment. And yes, there is plenty of indulgence.
The only photo I took at Thanksgiving. A sign that, as some people reminded me, I was too busy enjoying myself to stop and document the moment.
But the day after Thanksgiving is not regrettable to me. Yes, I ate my weight in calories. Yes, the kitchen is a complete disaster. But the rest of the house is still clean after the parade of guests. The refrigerator is full of leftovers beckoning a meal we’ll dub Thanksgiving, Part II. And my heart is full of gratitude.
I’m thankful for the little boy and the big man that are my family. My family. My grown-up family and the people that I know will be by my side for each and every holiday to come.
I’m thankful for my sister’s in-laws that have blurred the lines of how far an extended family should reach. They welcome me and my family into their homes and this year, I was thrilled to be able to reciprocate.
I’m thankful for a house that is warm and cozy and somehow allows me to serve dinner to 16 people.
I’m thankful for a husband who may not be great at cleaning but makes up for it when it comes to cooking. We’re never a better team than we we come together for food and entertaining.
I’m thankful for the opportunity to share my holiday with my neighbor, who practically had tears in his eyes when my husband invited him to join our family for dinner.
I’m thankful that there were no empty places at the table this year, signifying another year of health and happiness for us all.
While my brother and his family and my dad and his wife both live too far away to join us, I’m thankful that I was able to welcome my new sister-in-law to the table this year.
My tummy may hurt a little and my jeans are definitely a bit too tight, but the day after Thanksgiving that I’ve filled with a long bath, a bit of book club reading, and just a wee bit of writing, is one of contentment and just a little bit of anticipation for Thanksgiving, Part II.
(Thank goodness my husband took a few photos to prove that we really did cook, eat, and have a good time!)