The crisp cool air, falling leaves, sweaters and down vests, the warmth of a crackling fire in the living room, aromas of hearty home cooked meals permeating the house, college football on TV, endless games of backyard ball, runny noses and rosy cheeks, and of course Thanksgiving.
I love Fall. It’s by far my favorite season.
Growing up an only child with family spread all over the country, Thanksgiving was always spent with friends. It was always a special day.
A day, vastly different from any other as I, for that day, glimpsed into the world of larger families. Gatherings with lots of people; kitchens full of cooks, loud conversations; tables full of food and a house full of organized chaos; yards full of kids playing ball; full tummies and hours spent laughing.
A magical day full of great food, laughter and chaos that was a stark contrast from the calm of my everyday life. I loved it.
Between Thanksgiving gatherings we shared in Connecticut with friends at our home or another; all the years spent alternating Thanksgivings between New Jersey and CT with close family friends; the solitude of Thanksgivings spent at the beach on the Outer Banks with old family friends, every year and every Thanksgiving was unique and a new adventure. Celebrated with old and often new friends, each was different from the previous and uniquely special.
Great times and great food were had through the years and all those Thanksgivings. Many memories were made and new traditions evolved into old traditions. Each year the addition of new faces, places and traditions created a multitude of memories that I’ve carried with me.
Married with my own family and our extended family again spread all over the country, Paul and I have enjoyed creating our own traditions over the years. Sharing our Thanksgiving some years with family, other years with friends and more often than not, a good mix of both.
Over the years, celebrating and creating our own traditions and giving thanks with old and new friends has helped shape what is so special about Thanksgiving for us. It’s been more about the people and the moments we’ve shared than the food or formality.
This year, our Thanksgiving adventures and traditions continue to grow. As I flit around the house contemplating when I’ll have time to clean, fold the laundry on the dining room table and take a shower; I’m busy putting the finishing touches on the dinner menu and compiling the shopping lists.
Through an unexpected turn of events and the stars aligning, we’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving this year with a college sorority sister, her husband and two boys. In town from Florida for the week to hit up the sites in Atlanta, we’ll be re-connecting in person on Thursday after 13 years.
Our kitchen will be filled with cooks and lively conversation. Our yard will be full of children playing. Our tables will be full of food and I’d imagine more than a few hours will be spent laughing. Memories will be made and for all I know maybe traditions too. All of which we’re grateful for.
There’s so much to be thankful for this year. We’ve been noting all our thoughts on gratitude in the 30 days leading up to Thursday. Aside from the obvious ones… good health and stable MRI’s, happy and healthy children, a supportive family and a roof over our heads, I’m especially grateful for the wonder of enduring friendships and the joy these friendships bring to our lives.
Happy Thanksgiving. Here’s hoping your kitchen is full of cooks and conversation, your yard full of play, your tables and bellies full of food, much laughter is enjoyed, your heart full of gratitude and you have a friend by your side.