Saturday, November 8, 2008

My favorite (unusual) Thanksgiving tradition

One of the options for the EtsyBloggers blog carnival this time around was to describe your favorite Thanksgiving tradition. I must admit, I usually don't think about Thanksgiving much any more because it tends to make me a bit sad; my mom always organized these incredible turkey-day dinners for anyone and everyone who wanted to join and she passed away 4 years ago, so Thanksgiving has never been quite the same.

Still, sometimes it's good to squeeze through that initial sadness to remember something good.

I was lucky enough to grow up in a house with giant dining room (we could seat 25-30 people in there--no, I'm not rich, my parents just happened to buy a run down country "estate" for a song and fix it up before I was born). My mom was a very inclusive person--she definitely lived by "the more the merrier" cliche--and this willingness to have anyone and everyone sometimes translated to some pretty odd collections for Thanksgiving dinner.

See, my dad had been married twice before he married my mom, and had kids from both those previous marriages. My mom not only invited her step-children, but their mothers and even their mothers' other children (the ones not from my dad) and parents to join us. She'd also invite and neighbors and family friends who didn't have a big gathering of their own to go to.

It's funny how what you grow up with just seems normal until you get enough exposure to other people's families--I think I didn't realize just how unusual it was for my mom to invite her husband's ex-wives and the family of those ex-wives until I was 12 or 13. Still, even after I'd realized it was a bit "weird", it never stopped seeming anything other than perfectly suited to the spirit of the holiday itself, no matter how un-traditional a tradition it was. My mom was never terribly big on very "traditional" traditions anyway--that's her pretending to pour the pot of stuffing on my half-sister's head in the picture above.

Thanksgiving Dinner

6 bits of commenty goodness:

Mishkat said... 11/8/08, 5:23 PM

This is a great post - and that's such a great photo! And my sympathy on the loss of your mother - she sounds like such a wonderful person.

My husband and I still do not like to celebrate Thanksgiving because we both have such bad memories of our families getting into knock-down, drag-out fights - often right during dinner (Christmas wasn't much better). I would have loved to come to one of your mom's dinners, though.

Gandalf and Grayson said... 11/8/08, 5:48 PM

What a wonderful life! and what a remarkable woman your mother must have been!

Cats said... 11/9/08, 7:09 AM

Very sorry about your Mom's passing away. She was a great lady with a big heart. Have a peaceful Sunday!

maryeb said... 11/9/08, 1:58 PM

What a great story. Your mom was definitely a special person. Thanks so much for sharing this memory.

Vegan Mama said... 11/9/08, 3:51 PM

I think that it's awesome that all parts of the family were welcome at your house. So often there is the No Speaking to each other unwritten law that takes over in divorces. I'm thinking it might be time to reinvent your Thanksgiving traditions...Honoring your dear mother, of course!

storybeader said... 11/26/08, 6:59 PM

looks like a very merry setting, and must have been a lot of fun. Sorry for the loss of your dear mother - hope you can enjoy the holidays with the rest of the family. I'm sure everyone misses her.