As Thanksgiving and the holidays approach, I can’t help but think of traditions. Traditions we used to have, traditions that I still think about today.
When I was a kid
Many years ago, our families were very intertwined. My grandparents were alive, and there was usually not even a question what we would be doing for the holidays. All the family (and it was a big one) would make their way to Shawnee, Oklahoma to spend a few days together. That was the tradition.
Grandmas house was not very big, but it was so full of love. There were 2 bedrooms, one bathroom, a little living area, and a kitchen that fit a small table that when pulled out away from the wall, sat 8 people.
The women seemed to always either be in the kitchen making the next meal, or cleaning up after it. Always chatting and with smiles on their faces. The men stayed out of the way and in the living area surrounding the tv and talking together. Us kids would be playing. Usually in the front yard, or climbing all around the back of my grandpas pickup truck.
At dinner time the men would all gather around the table first. After the men were fed, the kids sat at the table (sometimes in 2 waves since there were so many of us!). Once the kids ate, the women finally sat down to eat. Not soon after eating, they were cleaning up and starting on the next big meal.
As we got older
Once I had my son, during his very young years, he experienced the fun of going to Oklahoma. Our families were huge by then so Grandmas house was no longer an option for meals. We had a hotel function space nearby where we would all meet and come together.
It’s hard as our families get older and the rock holding everyone together passes. My Grandma passed at 102 years of age, and by then all of us were having families of our own. Time was now divided between more people, trying to see both sides of each family. Not to mention many family members were moving further away. As it goes, holidays are divided more and life goes on.
Once our Grandma passed, our traditional Thanksgiving became getting together at either our house or my mom and dads. We did have the traditional foods, which always seem to bring a smile to our faces. Turkey, Dressing, Corn Casserole, Baked Beans, just to name a few. These are still our favorites to this day.
Now, Years Later
Now that my son is grown and has a girlfriend, we share our time with them too. We are ok with that because we are just grateful we all have one another and that we don’t live too far away. We try to coordinate celebrating our time together on a different date if it’s not the actual thanksgiving day.
Sometimes it is just Duane, me and my parents on the actual holiday. We make the most of it and try some nice restaurant or have even gone out of town and visited another Texas city for the day.
One year we went to the Parade in Downtown Houston. That was so fun!
We also alternate years to see Duane’s family when we can. It doesn’t always work out, but when it does, we are grateful.
Years to come
We have no idea what the years to come will bring for us and our Thanksgiving Traditions. I pray we come up with some new traditions while keeping the core of family coming together still in tact.
With any luck, my son and his girlfriend will have a little family of their own and will want to start some new traditions with all of us. For now, our “tradition” is to love our family where ever we all are.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! We pray your day is spent with a heart full of love. Where ever you are.