Thanksgiving Traditions or Lack Thereof

by Michael

I’ve come to the realization that Thanksgiving is never going to be quite the same again.  This year, for example, I’m likely to not have any of my children and will be spending Thanksgiving with only my extended family, absent of my own.  That’s heartbreaking.  Not just in the ways that are obvious upfront; being away from family on a Holiday, etc, but because I remember when I was little, how much I looked forward to Thanksgiving.  

Thanksgiving marked the first of two times, closely back to back, that I would be around my family.  All my aunts, uncles, and cousins.  There was always just something about those events, especially when I was younger.  Looking back now, I wish I had known, and cherished them more.  Especially the years we had Thanksgiving at my Granny and Pappy’s (paternal grandparents).  Even writing this, I’m realizing that those memories are slowly fading away with time, and I’m desperately clawing to keep hold of them.  Simple things like the layout of the house, the smells, and the sounds.  They’re still there, still with me, but vaguely.  Just on the edge, almost like a dream.  I’m going to have to sit down and try to write something about them before the memories fade away even further.

Ultimately, that’s what kills me the most.  My kids will never have anything close to the memories I have.  Their memories of actual Thanksgiving will be of rushing between me and their mothers.  Never getting to take the time to enjoy being at one place or around a certain group of people.  Never really getting those smells and sounds ingrained into their memory.  It’s heartbreaking.

It also makes me determined to find some type of tradition to start for this time of year.  Be it Thanksgiving day or that weekend, or whatever happens to be the timeframe I’m able to get them, I want there to be some type of tradition they can look back on, and know they had something special with me.  

This year alone, I’ve made it a point to make going through the Kid’s Catalog a big deal.   A one-on-one type of thing where we do it together.  I realize it’s not much, and it’s on a short timetable as it’s a tradition that will only last as long as the kids are interested in toys.  I try to stay positive though and tell myself that it’s a start.  

Some families do the whole football game thing for Thanksgiving.  With the time of year, it’s a rather fitting tradition, but for a single Dad with a son and daughter, that’s a bit harder to pull off.  I’ve been juggling around with the idea of having a Nerf gun fight/ambush.  Not entirely sure how tradition worthy it is, but its something that would definitely be fun. It’s just that would be something we could do every weekend and I want something to be a special tradition that they think about when in relation to Thanksgiving.

I love my children like nothing else, and while I’ve given them a very non-traditional childhood, I want to be able to give them as many “traditional” memories as I can. The idea of family and holiday tradition(s) is something I’m grabbing onto and holding onto dearly. I want my children to have that, I just wish I could have that one golden idea.  With visitation and dinner schedules and not always being able to eat anything but leftovers, the idea of using certain dishware or bowls, or being able to have a special table setting or things like that, is not reasonable.  I have to think outside the box on this, and I’m still working on it.  

That’s one thing that’s not going to be a tradition though.  I refuse to have a tradition, where the actual tradition is that I’m still working on the tradition.

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