Always the grandest of Love Thursdays, Thanksgiving is the American holiday I miss the most. Although we have a local version of most of the others … 4th of July being a notable exception … there is still always an “American version” that I miss while others celebrate in the fashion they’re accustomed to. Thanksgiving, though, goes right over the heads of the Seychellois and Brits that I live my life with and around these days, and by missing the point completely I think they really are missing out.
This will be my 14th consecutive non-Thanksgiving, and like most when they finally roll around this one has me wondering why the heck Mark and the kids and I didn’t pack up about a week ago and head for California.
I so want Sam and Cj to really know this holiday in all its crispy, see-your-breath, sycamore-leaved, turkey-smelling, family traditions with Grandma Janet’s good china splendor, and to do that we’re going to have to head around the globe some November soon.
I’ve tried to explain the zeitgeist of Thanksgiving to my husband and my children, but am always aware that when I start in about gratitude and grace and all I veer off into a daily state, not a yearly occasion, and when it’s the holiday itself I’m pitching I go all soft and squishy over paper pilgrim hats and collars and hand-print turkeys and pumpkin pies cooling on my mom’s washing machine.
In other words, they don’t get it.
In years past, I have tried to mimic Thanksgiving as an event, a meal, a gathering, but although those with no expectations always rave about the turkey … even if it has been frozen for 8 years and tops out at 6 pounds — a Cornish Game Turkey? … and my special stuffing, their very cluelessness ends up leaving me depressed and wishing I hadn’t bothered.
This year, I’m not bothering.
My friend, Johanna has taken pity and invited us for a spaghetti dinner at her place tonight, and as long as I don’t let myself think about things too much, I’ll be nicely diverted and have a pleasant evening.
This does NOT mean I’m not thankful, because I most certainly am. Today, however, is more about what I miss than what I have. Life itself is loss and gain, and every so often my losses grab my attention and hold it for a while. The fact of the matter is that I am grateful for all, even what I no longer have.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.