Personal, Stories Told

Making traditions up as you go

It’s my ex-wife’s turn to enjoy Thanksgiving with our sons, so I’ll be home alone tonight. Don’t weep for me – we had the family, the fine china, the turkey, and the post-dinner coma last Saturday.

Table set and ready

When I was small, we always had Thanksgiving with Mom’s family and sometimes again later with Dad’s. Mom’s family usually gathered at my grandparents’ palatial retirement estate – a narrow mobile home on a small lake. I swear we crammed 40 people in there every year. People ate their dinner anywhere they found a spot to squat.

My grandparents were the glue holding the extended family together, and after they passed nobody much wanted to gather for Thanksgiving. So we started having Thanksgiving at home, just the four of us. We did it up right with all the fine dishes and silver handed down generation to generation. When I married, we added new family members as they arrived. Eventually, eight of us fit around the table.

These days we have Thanksgiving on Thanksgiving in even-numbered years and whenever it works out in odd-numbered years.

We have adapted to every change. We were sad each time to see old traditions pass, but soon our new traditions had taken root and began to create memories just as warm as the old.


8 thoughts on “Making traditions up as you go

  1. After my FIL passed, no one really got together anymore either. He was the glue on that side of the family. My MIL was always bitching about having to make a ham or a turkey. So we all said screw her. She was always bitter for some reason. We decided that her daughter, who lives with her, can deal with Thanksgiving and Christmas with her.

    My mom passed about 8 years ago. She was the glue on my side. My brother about two years later.Dad has a new “girlfriend”. We call her “New Grandma”. We don’t like her. He has Thanksgiving with her white trash family. I’m not close with any relatives.

    It’s just the four of us. It’s ok. We have fun. Makes for easy cleanup.

    Happy Thanksgiving Jim!

  2. Your post makes me realize that my sister is doing an awesome job of becoming the glue! My mom still does Christmas Eve dinner, but Thanksgiving at my sister’s is still kind of a new tradition for us, but one that is starting to take hold quite well now. :) That in itself is something to be thankful for!

  3. This post was right on time. This is my first year divorced and first time in 19 years that I didn’t have Thanksgiving as a ‘family’. It was rather odd, uncomfortable. However, we will pick up the pieces and make new traditions, just like you said. This Christmas, in order to ease things a bit, we’ll be having dinner together on Christmas Eve. Great post.

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