Spaghetti, family and the holiday season

I’m pretty disappointed.

I flew across the New York State thruway today. I drove the 250 miles from Buffalo all the way to Albany to get home for my favorite holiday–Thanksgiving. I love Thanksgiving. It’s so much better than Christmas. Everyone gets together and eats, there’s no stress or expectation over gifts–you just sit back, eat some food, catch up and watch football. It is quite possible the greatest holiday of all time–despite the fact that it (probably) glorifies the merciless slaughter of millions of Native Americans. Minor details.
When I got home today I was asking my mother who was coming over for dinner on Thanksgiving and she listed off the usual suspects except now there’s drama apparently. My uncle doesn’t want to come for whatever ridiculous meaningless reason. My aunt is choosing to stay home and eat lasagna because either she has issues of her own or she’s over the drama my uncle is causing–which is only drama because when people aren’t getting along my grandmother takes it VERY SERIOUSLY. It quite literally breaks her heart. Which then makes my mother and I fee bad because we don’t like it when other people are upset (we have horrible guilt complexes)…it’s just a mess.
People. We’re all adults here. Why and how is it so hard to just be with your family for dinner on Thanksgiving. Why do we all need to hang on to things for so long? Why can’t we just drop it, break bread and move on? You only get one family, don’t burn your bridges. Just make peace.
The holiday season is for giving thanks and I am thankful for my entire family whether they come to dinner or not. I love them all for better or for worse. Why do I seem to be in the minority on this? Why can’t everyone just be thankful for one another and let sleeping dogs lie. Even my father, who is traditionally not easy to get along with is willing and able to just let things go for the sake of family. I just wish everyone would grow up, swallow their pride and come eat turkey with me.
So our table will be significantly smaller this year but you know what, I guess that’s okay. If certain members of my family want to stay home and sulk and eat a Swanson TV dinner or a pan of lasagna, fine. While I’ll be sad that they can’t be with the rest of us, they will still be in my thoughts as I dig into a pile of stuffing.
I’m still going to have a fun, entertaining day–my parents have a way of ensuring that. I had only been home for about 4 hours when I learned everything I needed to know about twirling spaghetti on your fork. Some say it’s about the angle of the twirl, other say it’s about the effort you put into it. It may not sound entertaining but it’s these little quirks that keep me grounded and all the more thankful that I do have my family.
To all my friends and family–near or far, immediate or extended–whether you’ll be eating lasagna on Thursday or a HEAPING pile of my mother’s amazing stuffing. I love you. Have a great day doing whatever it is you choose to do, and hopefully I’ll get to see you at Christmas.

One comment

  1. Rob Brennan · November 25, 2009

    Yeah the holidays are a great time of year. I treasure them more just to visit and see good friends and family; the connotations (whether religious or historical) really aren't even a factor…It is a bummer that folks have to be the way they are, but…It probably is better to stay home if they would just bring drama or misery to the others. The important thing is to let them know they're loved and will be missed – and hopefully they'll move on and eventually see what they're missing out on. This is a great time of year to remember loved ones as well as visit those who truly bring happiness into our lives. It's a great time to simply call that distant relative, share our love with our friends/family, and just appreciate what we have…today. One never knows who will/will not be around next Thanksgiving…

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