The Thanksgiving tradition for my family was set in stone, until us grandkids started getting married and having kids (and various renditions of those two things), which brings the inherent conflicts in schedules. This also means that there started to be years without the sausage balls (sacrilege!), and then there were years with no kids’ table – which meant I had to be an adult…which hopefully didn’t mean I had to do dishes. Yikes! Hurry and take a nap on Grandma’s bed until the after-meal chores were done! Nevertheless, holding to the “tradition” had become something unrecognizable and slightly less Thanksgivingy.
My hott husband was a Navy brat, and, with much of his family scattered around the planet, hasn’t spent any of his adult years living near the rest of his family. So holidays are simply opportunities to get away – ski, surf, camp, etc. The blended family that we are means our kids have other families who DO have traditions, so our take has been “pressure’s off…you don’t have to pick or split your Thanksgiving between family obligations…y’all go and have a good time with the ones who are tradition-oriented, and we’ll take advantage of the freedom to do/go wherever.” One condition is required of our doing/going wherever: Whataburger feast for Thanksgiving meal on two wheels. This new tradition began simply because, unlike most places, Whataburger is actually OPEN on Thanksgiving! Like most Texans, we love our Whataburger. We eat there maybe monthly throughout the year, but Thanksgiving at Whataburger means Whata-sizing, extra everything, soda, milkshake (chocolate…duh!), AND fried apple pie. We’re pretty sure we still come in WAY under the average American caloric intake.
Do my parents love this new tradition of ours? Doubt it. Do our kids care? Doubt it. Do we enjoy the opportunity to free ourselves of holiday obligations and chill in a camper, scooter parked outside at the ready? Absolutely. Do we spend a great deal of our time here expressing how thankful we are for this dream we get to live and the happiness we find in these simple things? You betcha.
We love our families, we adore our children, but we hope and pray that they know that our happiness together is a testament to the long legacies of families who appreciate the simpler things – we’re just taking out the pressure of cooking, traveling, tryptophan comas, while using our time to relax and recharge so that we can be thankful EVERY day for this crazy/busy/wonderful life we live the other 364 days of the year.
Our way is not for everyone, but it is for us, and we hope the legacy we leave our children is to take this time of year to do what makes you thankful, whether that is celebrating a centuries-old tradition, starting a brand new one, or just taking the opportunity to rest and relax. If you can’t be grateful everyday wherever you are, you’re probably not thankful at this time of year that is designated for giving thanks. When you’re living the dream (even if it’s your own dream), appointed days don’t seem so necessary.