I was remembering past Thanksgivings today and thinking about how different they used to be when I was younger than they are now. Funny how marriage can change you life so dramatically. 🙂
When I was younger it was just my mom and I. Most of our extended family lived in Florida and we didn’t get to visit them for Thanksgiving. Usually my cousin, Travis would come over, since he was in college near by. Thanksgiving was really laid back. We would get up and watch the Macy’s day parade, my mom is a sucker for parades. Then we would have some breakfast, usually involving sausage and eggs in one form or another. Mom would start cooking the turkey, dressing and usual Thanksgiving fare, and we would have “dinner” around 2pm. Then watch football and eat the best leftover turkey sandwiches ever. I actually looked forward to the turkey sandwiches more than the actually turkey dinner. All in all it was a very restful and relaxing, quiet day.
Then I got married. My husband comes from a large family, to say the least. He has five sisters and just about every other relative lives within the same 30 miles, some of them even live next door. This was a completely foreign idea to me. The first thanksgiving I went to had about 25 people. I was shocked. And then there isn’t just one meal, they have multiple meals at multiple houses on multiple days. You just eat and eat and eat. It’s what I call the caravan holiday. You just spend the whole weekend going from house to house eating and taking family pictures.
Then of course there is the food. I had no idea people didn’t all eat the same thing for Thanksgiving. I just assumed everyone had turkey, stuffing from a box, jellied cranberry sauce from a can, green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, corn pudding and yeast rolls. And don’t forget pumpkin pie, curtousy of Mrs Smith. But when I went to my husbands thanksgiving meal they had the turkey and then everything else was completely different. They have mushrooms in the stuffing and it did not come out of a box. I had no idea people actually made stuffing from scratch. They also had cranberry relish, it’s hard to explain, it’s good, but is not anything like cranberry sauce out of a can. Then there is pumpkin muffins, which I honestly found as a welcome addition. But there is nothing green whatsoever. They don’t believe in vegetables. Just kidding, there is a brocoli salad I think, but I discovered that there are people in the world who actually hate green bean casserole! What? They also have spinach balls, which are quit good I might add. All in all, just not what I was used to.
Over the past 10 years Glenn and I have learned to compromise about Thanksgiving. I bring sweet potato casserole and cranberry sauce to his family’s house. I have learned to roll with the schedule of his Thanksgiving, although it was very difficult at first. I am not really a people person and that much family all the time just makes me tired. I have learned to retreat to a quiet corner when I get overwhelmed, and move on with life.
Marriage brings compromise, especially at the holidays. But it also makes those same holidays so much richer, if you allow it to. We used to argue and fight about what we would do on holidays and it was so stressful. But now we have compromised and made holidays a hybrid of both families, while not forgetting to take time for our own little, well big, family. The point of Thanksgiving is not what parades you watch or what you eat, it’s about what great deals you get at Black Friday sales, I mean, it’s about family and spending time together. We have had some hard Thanksgivings in our 10 years together when I didn’t feel like I had a lot to be thankful for, but there are more good times than bad, and we do have so much to be thankful for. You cannot realize the good unless you experience the bad. I am thankful this year for the hard times in my life, that have made me truly thankful for my blessings.