One of my favorite memories from my childhood was the most un-traditional Thanksgiving. We were out of the house all day, watching and waiting for my dad to finish up working on our car. We went home late, tired and hungry, and my mom didn’t know what to do. She decided that our turkey dinner would be all sorts of creative.
She set out 5 normal dinnerware items: a fork, a glass, a plate, a spoon, a bowl. We got to choose one typical eatery item, then she put together the rest of the tableware package. Someone got a ladle for a spoon, a cookie sheet for a plate, a pitcher for a cup. Giggles turned to laughter as we tried our best to manage slippery spaghetti with ridiculous utensils.
We didn’t have much growing up, of which I was (mostly) blissfully unaware. I didn’t know that not every family had a one-glass-of-milk-a-day rule, or that some kids didn’t have the same back-to-school shopping experience, that for me meant picking out a “new” pair of jeans at the local thrift store. My family wasn’t always so hard pressed to make ends meet, but I do know that my parents experienced many days when they were literally living on potatoes.
I don’t remember that being a struggle. What I do remember is the crazy life of love and laughter we had in a house that was our home, and a backyard that supplied hours of free entertainment. Our imaginations blossomed as we sledded in the winter, gardened in the summer, and ran up and down that hill all the days in between.
That’s all I really want for my family: to bond over a creatively executed dinner, to work and sweat side by side, to fight unfairly so we can learn how to fight fair and come out with fists un-clenched and arms open. To take those lessons of life and love and go out into the world, sharing their creativity and kindness bravely with everyone who has the pleasure to cross their path.
To be thankful for every day…that’s a gift in and of itself. What are you thankful for on this day, friends?