From my family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving

Today is Thanksgiving, or if you are part of the 95% that makes up the rest of the world, Thursday. That is unless of course you aren’t reading this on a Thursday. Technically it isn’t Thursday for me either as I am writing this well in advance of my near certain tryptophan-induced turkey coma. I digress.

By the time you read this, my turkey day celebrations will be underway. My children have likely spent the last hour complaining about how mean I have been for not giving them snacks when all I was trying to do is ensure they have room in their tummies for a no thank you helping of green bean casserole. It’s delicious! Trust me! My dad and Lamont are likely outside debating the merits of smoking a bird with charcoal versus electricity as they monitor the meat thermometer’s readings while holding a beer in hand. Meanwhile, my stepmom is probably barricaded behind a kitchen counter covered in heating pads and Pyrex.

My teenaged brothers have likely been tasked with setting the table and filling glasses with water but are more interested in coordinating an afternoon meeting with a girlfriend or two. I will notice fewer place settings filling the room as both my sisters (and their families) are attending meals elsewhere this year. Left to represent the daughters of the family, I may even be invited to sit at the grown-up table.

Even so, the house will hardly feel empty. My grandfather and his wife may join us or they may not. At 100, grandpa doesn’t really worry about things like advanced planning anymore. The dogs will run underfoot hopeful that someone will drop something tasty. Phones will ring off their hooks as various relatives check in and at some point, my step-aunt and uncle will arrive with rolls (and maybe a pie), signaling that the time for celebration has come.

The grown-ups (and big kids) will eat until our stomachs reach their limit. LT will likely experiment with gravy and cranberry sauce as hair care while his brother runs off to re-discover their uncles’ old toys. Before long, it will be time to pry Lamont away from the football game on TV and herd the children into the car so that we can repeat the entire process at Lamont’s parents’ house.

Or none of this might happen. My Thanksgivings are delicious, messy, loud and at times chaotic affairs. It is a day steeped in tradition, but flexibility too. It’s a holiday like no other. I surround myself with family, but someone else might prefer a quiet meal for two. We’ll cook a turkey, but the house across the street from us may serve ham or tofurkey instead. There are very, very few wrong Thanksgiving traditions. It is a holiday that allows you to celebrate as you see fit as long as you simply remember to say, thank you.

So here’s wishing a Happy Thanksgiving to you all no matter how you celebrate. Or Thursday. Or whatever.

And thank you.