Because my birthday is November 22, Thanksgiving is always a part of my birthday. Some years it’s been on Thanksgiving, some years right before or after. This means that I usually get to see some relatives for my birthday, which is both good and bad. Sometimes I’m feeling selfish and want to have my birthday to myself, not sharing it with others. Other years leave me nostalgic for turkey and giving thanks.
Maybe it’s because my birthday is close to Thanksgiving, but I always look forward to turkey day. It’s like the prelude to Christmas, the warm-up. You cook a bunch of food and play games and eat with your relatives. It’s Christmas without the pressure of buying gifts.
Thanksgiving and Christmas are the two holidays I have to spend with relatives of some kind. Easter, fourth of July, Arbor Day, I can spend those with anyone.
I’ve had Thanksgivings with a small turkey, a ham, a turkducken, three kinds of stuffing, stuffed steaks, pies, cakes, homemade cranberry sauce, cranberry sauce in a can (the indentations are serving sizes). I’ve spent it with my father’s family, my mother’s family, my stepfamily, John’s family. We’ve done it small and done it big. There are sometimes prayers and blessings. There is sometimes football. Depending on where we are, we are sometimes freezing cold, our toes about to fall off, and sometimes burning up in t-shirts and shorts.
I love all of it, no matter where we are and who we’re with. Thanksgiving, for me, is a time to hang out with the people you love, who support you and exasperate you and make you laugh and maybe piss you off too. We all get together and eat and push each others’ buttons for awhile. And then we go home again. And we miss each other until Christmas.