Poor Thanksgiving. The forgotten holiday. Perhaps even more so now for us, with Ruby's birthday so close.
Unfortunately, Thanksgiving just doesn't give us time. It gives the boys time off of school; however, it isn't enough time to travel the distance we need to to spend the holiday with family...which, of course, is where we'd like to be. It's been this way, I believe, for the kids' entire lifetimes. We may have made it back to the midwest once or twice when we lived in Illinois, but for sure not since we've moved to Michigan. It's kind of a bummer.
But this year, for perhaps the first time, we got a bit more serious about making Thanksgiving day something special for us, even though we wouldn't be "with everyone else." And considering it's the holiday that gets neglected anyway, I wanted to be extra intentional about what we could do to start our own Thanksgiving traditions here, where we are.
Thankfully, we haven't spent the holiday alone since our move here. Families within our congregation have been gracious to us, inviting us to celebrate the day (and the meal) with them. We are always so touched to be thought of and included, but I will admit it leaves a bit of longing for what we are missing with our families.
This year, it finally struck me: we can't be the only ones here who don't have family to gather with? So, let's do Thanksgiving together, as one big giant framily (friends + family = framily)! The wheels started churning as to who we could invite, and as I started mulling over how we could feed a potentially large group here in our little home - we were invited to join a couple from church who were attempting to do the same thing. They are a couple who have grown children (and grandchildren), all of whom live out of state and wouldn't be coming for the holiday. They were looking to do what we were desiring to do, which was gather with those who didn't have a Thanksgiving meal to share with anyone. They were willing to host and cook, which solved my dilemma of space at our house.
In the end, there were 10 of us gathered around the table - the five of us, a young, single woman, a mother and daughter, and the couple that hosted us. The food was delicious, the conversation flowed nicely, and the thanks that we shared was uplifting. And it was fun! There was a moment when I was laughing so hard, I was crying. Best kind of laughing, ever. (Not so funny was Reed breaking Drew's school-issued iPad, but things are never perfect, right?)
It was good to be with framily. It was good to be thought of and prayed over and fed really good food. It was good to be giving thanks.
Next year, we'll do the same, and hopefully we'll have the chance to host here at our house. I'd love for this to be our new "thing" at Thanksgiving time.