|Image from icanread.|
As is the fate of many children of divorce, the holidays were always split. Thanksgiving belonged to my father, whereas Christmas belonged to my mother. So, Thanksgiving has always been “Dad’s holiday.” My father loves fine wine, good food, and the company of dear friends and family. This is a day that he looks forward to every single year. As the Thanksgiving issue of “Bon Apetit” arrives on our respective doorsteps, we each peruse the contents and eventually talk about the menu. He humors my contributions and suggestions and then goes about the menu planning. And it is always fantastic.
It’s a whole family endeavor. There are assigned jobs. And schedules. And expectations. One year, 7 months pregnant and full of hormones, I had the misfortune of burning the meringue on one of the pies. I spent 30 minutes crying in the bathroom, too full of shame to show my face. There are injuries. Yesterday, during our annual preparation, my father could hardly stand up as his back ached from days of cooking and chopping. My 10-year-old daughter sliced off half of her fingernail while engaging in the messy business of peeling apples. Thanksgiving at the Hickey house is not for the weak.
Over the years, our Thanksgiving celebrations have evolved as friends inevitably cycle in and out of our lives, as babies are born, and grandparents pass. We’ve had years of finding one extra chair for a lonely friend or an unexpected relative. The celebrations have also evolved from rowdy dance parties and karoke (yes, I said karoke) to board games, puzzles and preschool arts and crafts. It shifts as we shift, ever-ready to meet us where we happen to be in our lives.
So, today, as I embark on this day of celebration, I will enjoy every moment and pause to be thankful for my incredible family and the special tradition that my father began all those years ago. It is a day that I always cherish and a reminder that we need traditions to remind us of who we are of what has shaped us and, most importantly, of where we belong. Happy Thanksgiving.