My mother is teaching in Dubai. As a result, I have inherited the holidays. This isn't really a bad thing, but it does mean that life this time of year gets a bit scattered. Thanksgiving and Christmas weren't too forgiving this year either as I work the beginning of every week (Sunday-Wednesday) and both fall on Thursdays. As such, there has been much early preparation and a significant amount of thought put into what exactly I can do four days early. Luckily with all the canning we did earlier this year, there isn't too much to buy or too much to cook.
Being quite the American family, we combine people from all over the United States, people from various relationships, and people from different families all around one table. Personally, I like the Barracuda growing up with this idea that we are all family and we can all sit around one table and be thankful together. It does make the menu a bit crazy at times though.
Jules is very Southern in some things he likes to eat. This means creamed corn, cornbread stuffing, biscuit and sweet potatoes. Lindy is my father's long-time girlfriend and she likes food which is very 'normal.' That means no fancy seasonings or exotic dishes at the table. A co-worker of ours as well as our neighbor, might come over and neither eat meat. This means lots of vegetable choices which do not contain chicken or turkey stock. My brother likes traditional favorites. My father is partial to his Swedish roots which means the sweet, Swedish rolls which have always been at our table. I personally like lighter, healthier fair. Oh my goodness this has been quite interesting to plan.
It all worked out quite nicely though. Food was good, very plentiful, and most of it came from the cellar previously canned. Out of all of it, we didn't spend much money and had quite a bit to be thankful for.
In our household there is no discussion of Pilgrims and "Indians." We do not discuss everyone sitting down to a feast, and all the thankfulness, and all the charity, and all the grace. We have always been honest with The Barracuda and a historically accurate description of Thanksgiving would require massacres and small pox blankets to be discussed. He is five and that is quite unnecessary.
We focus on thankfulness and on family. Family (in our household) is not biological. Family are people who love and care about each other regardless of genes. On Thanksgiving we are thankful for people, for friends, for all that we have and anyone who might need a place at the table to sit.
It meant sitting in front of the fire place eating, laughing, talking and drinking till everyone was exhausted. It also means that whether or not Jules is the real other half of the Barracuda's genes are doesn't matter. Whether my father is married to his long term girlfriend is completely moot. Coworkers, ex-coworkers, neighbors are all friends and thus family in turn. It makes for quite a warm house filled with warm hearts.
In the end, we all wound up thankful for quite a bit. When asked by his teacher to list three good things in his life The Barracuda wrote this: (He uses Jules and dad interchangeably.)
"My room and my toys and my family. My room is a good thing because it has my bed so I can sleep. It is my room, now. When I didn't have my dad, I just lived in another house. I didn't have my own room, because I didn't have a whole family. I shared my room with my mom. Now, my room is just for me. My room is a good thing because it keeps my toys. Because I get to do cool stuff with them. I get to play with them. I get to do lots of stuff with them. I haven't always had lots of toys because when I was at the other house I didn't really have a room. I didn't have many toys or things because our room was small and always messy. Now, I'm living in [Jules'] house and it has all my toys in there and now I have my own simple room. We live at [Jules'] house now because we moved from the other house. I like that house because it is all fancy and we have our dog and our cat. My family tells me what is right and what is wrong. I like my family and I love my family. My mom cleans up the house and my dad goes to work. I love my dad because he does stuff with me and he comes to get me from when I play at other people's houses. My dad's job is to keep me safe. I love my mom too. She takes me to the coffee shop. She protects me and looks out for me."