In the United States, today is Thanksgiving Day. There were eight of us today at our home for the traditional turkey dinner – and what I am most thankful for was that there were the eight of us together around our table today.
B and I had our younger daughter T on break from her master’s program at ESF in Syracuse and our elder daughter and son-in-law all the way from Honolulu, Hawai’i, where they are both graduate students. The last time the five of us were together in our home was at Christmastime almost three years ago, when a Christmas morning marriage proposal set the stage for the happy addition of L to the family.
Rounding out the party were three members of our elder generation, my parents – Nana and Paco – and B’s mom – Grandma. They have each had their share of health issues over the last few months, so it was a true blessing that they were all able to be there, especially Grandma. This was her first extended sojourn anywhere other than for medical appointments this fall. We were grateful that the lovely eight inches of snow we got yesterday didn’t derail the transport plans.
A special feature of the celebration this year was that T was doing an extended entry in her journal for an ethnobotany course she is taking. They have been writing about their personal and cultural relationship with plants and they had a bonus assignment to write about their family traditions in celebrating Thanksgiving. T filled several pages with stories about how our apple pie techniques have evolved over time, how the bread stuffing with sausage came from my side of the family while the baked onions came from B’s side, and how B learned to flatten a turkey to help it cook more quickly. T got to ask Grandma about where her Aunt Gert had acquired the Indian pudding recipe that we make and L got to experience eating it for the first time. As a British-Filipino, American Thanksgiving is a relatively new phenomenon, much less a New England dessert like Indian pudding. For the record, he enjoyed it!
This was definitely a Thanksgiving to savor. As our children proceed with their adult lives and establish their own households, they may be able to travel to our home less and less frequently. While we hope to have all of our elder generation with us for more years, the recent health scares remind us that they may not be able to be out and about as they were today.
All the more reason to be especially thankful this year.