Don’t Be Afraid To Walk Through The Door of Change
Ah, Thanksgiving. One of my favorite holidays of the year. I know, I know, I already kind of went into that a bit when I spoke about Halloween in an earlier entry but, seriously, I really do love Thanksgiving.
See, the thing about Thanksgiving that I love so much is this little thing that we have taken to calling “Strays Thanksgiving”. Okay, my wife calls it that. I call it “Straysgiving” because that just sounds cooler and, I suppose, as a lyricist, I don’t like to waste syllables.
The idea behind Straysgiving really stems all the way back to (I dunno… some year…) 2007 (maybe?). Myself, my wife (then-girlfriend), Addie’s Godfather Drew (then just “Drew”) and his wife (then-girlfriend) Katie (then just “Katie”), and our friend (and phenomenal cook/baker/blond) Lisa got together to have Thanksgiving because, really, none of us had much for family down here that we could celebrate with (hence the “Strays” part). After an awesome dinner that included Pumpkin Pie made with the wrong kind of milk (condensed instead of evaporated, but it was pretty damn good nonetheless) and more mashed potatoes than would feed a third world country, we concluded that we’d do this little Thanksgiving get-together every year and rotate it from residence to residence (within the group).
Over the course of the next eight years things have changed quite a bit – Lisa moved away (a full thirty minutes, but because it’s Nashville, it’s more like an hour and thirty on bad traffic days so that’s no laughing matter); Emily and I got married and had a daughter; Drew and Katie got married; and from time to time family members have come down to spend Straysgiving with us.
In fact, family members are becoming so emboldened that we’ve run out of room to fit them all – Drew and Katie’s parents have come down, and so has Emily’s father.
So for the first time since (I dunno… some year…) 2007 (maybe?), we’re going to be all kinds of split up for Straysgiving.
Which effectively means that Straysgiving is canceled.
But ONLY for this one year.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking “my, you seem rather bitter about having family come down” etc etc and blah blah blah. Or maybe you’re thinking I’m upset because someone ruined our own little (some might say “exclusive”) tradition.
That’s not it at all. In fact, this is a blessing.
It’s a blessing that Katie and Drew’s respective family members were able to come down this year and spend Thanksgiving with them. In fact, I don’t know as Drew’s mother has ever been down for this particular holiday, or how many other days she’s ever been able to make it for. I’m absolutely delighted that they get to spend the day with family.
It’s a blessing that Emily’s father, who actually has spent many Thanksgivings with all of us, has been able to make it down once again. I always enjoy his company and look forward to the weekend we’ll all be spending together in Dayton with his sister and her husband – two of the nicest, kindest, most generous people I’ve ever known.
And it’s a blessing that, as a result of all of this, we have room to add another family, the Kostlichs, to our table this year. I couldn’t be more ecstatic to be able to spend some time around the dinner table, at our little bar and in front of the TV with another family of friends, who I hope might in some ways become part of our long-standing tradition.
Or maybe this is the beginning of a whole new one altogether.
And I’m thankful for that.
Because what’s more wonderful than adding more love to a holiday that in many ways exemplifies the understanding of what love is?
And, ultimately, though we’ve called the day “Straysgiving” (okay… though I’ve called it that), it’s years like this one that I realize we were never really strays to begin with.
Because family is more than blood – it’s what you create with other people with whom you share a friendship, a love, a bond.
Sure, tomorrow may be different. It may be a break from tradition. But considering the above, I’m alright with that.
In the end, when life gives you condensed milk, just go ahead and use it for the Pumpkin Pie anyway. It actually kind of works.
You may even like it better.