Giving Thanks

What can I say about Thanksgiving day? This has, hands down, been one of my all- time favorite holiday’s my entire life. Over the last few years this has been more of a difficult one though being away from my family. I come from a pretty large family when you get down to counting the actual numbers. Both of my parents had a slew of brothers and sisters who also had 4-5 kids of their own and so on for the rest of them.

As far back as I can remember on Wednesday night we would pack up the car once dad got home from work and drive out to Holland for his side of the family. Along the road there was always this little hill in the middle of the highway and knowing how this was what I loved my dad would floor it as we got to this hill so you could get that stomach dropping feeling. All night we would sit with his side of the family, doing our Christmas as well at the same time, playing with my cousins, cuddling up to my Grandfather and listening to my aunts gossip. We would get home pretty late and usually I slept the whole way home waking up just in time to hear my dad say “Punky we’re home, time to wake up” and shuffle into my bed.

Thanksgiving morning was always filled with smells and excitement; my mom would do a pie or homemade buns for cream of turkey that night. We would have to get a bunch ready before church because when we got home it would be pack up and head to the VK side of life. We would head into Zeeland all day on Thursday, in the early years ALL of us would be at my Grandma’s house, filling the house with kids, smells of turkey and pies coming from the oven and a fresh pot of coffee brewing in the corner. This was what I loved the most were those early years, my cousins lived next door and we would play for hours in their back yard, out in the barns and if it was too cold out we would play in the hallways. When dinner was ready we would all head to the basement where there was a banquet sized table and of course a giant kids table to match already set up. Everyone would be jockeying for a seat next to their favorite aunt/uncle/cousin and far away from mom and dads. After dinner the “guys” would gather in front of the TV to watch football and the “ladies” would all be in the kitchen, doing as much talking as dish washing. The kids would busy ourselves playing and running around, sitting on my Uncle Larry’s computer if he would let us until the fun part of the day begun. Around 4pm everyone would leave Grandma’s and make their way to the skating rink, picking up friends and other family members along the way and we would all meet up again to skate the night away. We had limbo contests, we showed off on our skates and we just loved being a family. There was a huge spread of food again with all the leftover turkey turned into the best cream of turkey sandwiches. Those that couldn’t make family dinner would show up there at night, and there would be new squeals of excitement. As the family got bigger families started having smaller groups at their houses, splitting the family up for dinner, but always coming together again at night for the skating.

Having moved away from home and not able to get back as often as I want to I have had to search out my own traditions which drastically changed again this year. For the past few years we have spent the morning chatting with Loni’s mom while she was making her deviled eggs and heading north. We would often go to Loni’s brother’s house at some point to hang out with his family. 2 years ago we spent our Thanksgiving moving into our first house, hosting a feast via cardboard table for those that helped out. It’s been hard to find that sense of holiday over the last few years but I think this year we feel it even more. This week marks a few things for us, it’s the first holiday with Loni’s mom, Deb’s birthday would have been the 28th, and it also marks 8 months since she passed away. That’s a whole lot to absorb in 1 week; I think it’s going to be tough on Loni this year. We are going over to a friend’s for dinner, but I wouldn’t mind if we just stayed home too.

I am feeling sort of blah about the whole thing. But I am going to try and get into the holiday spirit and surprise Loni by getting the house decorated tomorrow while she is at work. I am also getting our HD service hooked up on Tuesday so there goes my day off who knows how long that will take!

So what am I thankful for this year? I am thankful that both of my parents are in good health – and will be leaving for Florida on Sunday. I am thankful for Loni & what we have together, can’t imagine life without her, even with the struggles we have gone through this year. I am thankful for the life that Deb lived, for the opportunity to know her and love such a wonderful lady. I am thankful for my friends, though the circle is large, I am thankful for those that I let in close to me and how they enrich my life. I hope they know just how much they mean to me.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.


Kimberly said…
I'm finally catching up on blog reading (and commenting). Thank you for the vivid reminder of what Thanksgiving used to be like. I, too, LOVED Thanksgiving day. I still like the meaning and reason of the holiday, but it doesn't seem to be the same. I know that I miss having you around, for sure. I wish things would be different. I wish I could do something to change the way things are. Anyway, thank you for the reminder. I have a horrible memory, especially for details, but hearing you write about it brings everything back so clearly. THANK-YOU! And I give thanks to God for putting you in my family. :)

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