My husband, boys and I are so excited to go to Maine for Thanksgiving! My brother and his family host what becomes a colossal potluck dinner. It's very laid back and the flow of his house makes it so there's plenty of room. Room to eat, room to play games, room to watch football, and there's even room for the customary wrestle mania that happens between the older batch of cousins and the younger batch.
This year, the guest count of forty holds four generations, made up of my parents, my siblings, their spouses and kids, and even some kids of those "kids," as well as some friends of the family.
I'm so thankful that we all get to spend this holiday together. Having just attended the funeral of a younger friend's dad, I feel even more thankful that we still have everyone around and healthy.
I love the togetherness of Thanksgiving! I love that we live so much closer to Maine, where the festivities take place. Back when we lived in Pennsylvania, we decided one year that the trip to Maine was too much for us. We stayed home with our new little family and... it stank!
All our friends in Pennsylvania had other plans, so it literally was just us. Even the fact that we were eating my all time favorite meal (including canned cranberry jelly!) couldn't change the fact that something essential was absent for us.
I love the story of the first Thanksgiving: the tattered remnants of the Pilgrims after their first brutal year in America, coming together with the Wampanoag to celebrate and give thanks to God for their first successful harvest. The sense of pride and victory over trial and, of course, gratitude for all they had overcome and accomplished really gets me. I just love it! (I think about it and swear I can hear the music swelling dramatically in the background!)
The Pilgrims didn't just clap each other on the back and eat dinner by themselves. No! They gathered together with their neighbors and marked it as a celebration to share what was good in their lives!
This gets to point of why our lonely Pennsylvania Thanksgiving felt so lame. The day is meant to shared- with loved ones, family and friends- as well as anyone else we happen to come across who doesn't have a "together" of their own. There doesn't have to be anything preachy about Thanksgiving that people don't already seem to intuit organically. Get together, America, and give thanks for all you have!
Yes, for some that means football, or deep-fried turkey, or, *ahem*, cranberry jelly from a can. But that's okay, too. My kids think the best part of Thanksgiving at Uncle Andrew's is the pinball machine, the wrestling and being allowed to spray whipped cream in their mouths directly from the can.
But the seeds of togetherness and gratitude are sown- and for that, I'm truly grateful. Happy Thanksgiving, dear readers!
I complain a lot. A LOT. I complain about how much clutter is in my house and how much food I am always buying. I complain that my kitchen is old and falling apart. I complain about all the crap my kids leave all over my house. I complain that my kids are always squabbling over which creative, elaborate, made up game they want to play. I complain that I have purchased so much food for Thanksgiving that my pantry cabinet won’t close. I complain too much.
I am thankful that I have a warm home full of happy, creative, artistic, opinionated kids (even if they are loud and messy.) I am thankful to have more food than I have places to put it (even if my kitchen drawer fronts come off when I try to open them.) I am thankful to have a husband who understands me and knows me better than I know myself (even if I make him listen to all my complaints.) I am thankful.
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I love the idea of a non-denominational day of food, drink, friends, family and gratitude. No pressure of gift-giving, no songs that get stuck in your head, no obligatory decorations, no one left out. It is one of the only holidays that truly includes everyone. It is the one holiday all about celebrating what we have, and what we have is pretty great.
Happy Thanksgiving to all!
Tasha Schlake Festel
I won't annoy you with sappy prose
And wax on and on some more,
Let's all be thankful for rhyming couplets
And a reader I hope not to bore.
I am thankful for my children,
Sweet Addison and Reid.
Without them I wouldn't be who I am,
For better or worse, indeed
I am thankful for my husband
Who puts up with all my crap.
He really is a saint, you know.
Anyone who knows me will tell you that!
And without my supportive parents
Who on earth would I be?
Surely no one I'd recognize.
Not the strong woman you see.
Thanks for my sister, Heidi,
And her fam, Don, E, A, and M
They're close by and I'm lucky.
Don't know what I'd do without them.
Thank you to sweet Sophie
My dog of over 13 years.
I love that stinky old pup,
And her toots that bring me to tears.
And without my awesome girlfriends
I'd be an empty shell of me.
Who else would run at the crack of dawn
Or keep my secrets expertly?
I'm thankful for Lake Quannapowitt
And my runs before sunrise.
I am also so thankful for FightFIT,
And Sensei Rick who is so wise.
I am thankful for the right I have
To speak my mind at will.
I should be thankful for a filter of those thoughts,
But alas, that filter is nil.
I'm thankful for a margarita,
On the rocks with salt, no doubt
I'm thankful for chips and salsa,
And salted caramel chocolates I can't live without.
On that note, let me say thank you
For my Starbucks extended family,
And for Whole Milk Lattes and Decaf Americanos,
That I drink obsessively.
I'm thankful for People StyleWatch
And a fabulous eye cream as well.
I also say thanks for jewelry and shoes,
And outfits that look wicked swell.
I give thanks for good hair,
Thick and healthy, curly or straight.
Thanks to Erica at Carl Michael Salon
Who performs magic to make me look great.
I’m thankful for the occasional wax
By Sandy at Estrela.
Without that girly tune-up,
My eyebrows would look like [wait for it...] hell-a!
I'm thankful for my freckles,
That mean I've been in the sun.
I'm thankful for my wrinkles
That mean I've smiled, I've cried, I've won.
I'm thankful for my flabby belly
That shows I'm a happy mom.
I'd rather have my children and chocolate
Than a body that's the bomb.
I'm thankful for a sense of humor
That keeps me alive and (mostly) well.
I'm thankful for a body that moves,
Hands that create, and a voice to give 'em hell.
I'm thankful for the life I've built,
And all things, both good and bad.
I wouldn't know how happy I am
If I didn't sometimes feel sad.