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.