I’m a proud participant in Friendsgiving, which I’ve actually written about before. It’s my fourth year orchestrating this – orchestrating is being generous. I make something, I bring it. Many hands make light work. I’ve hosted a couple years. And this is my second year doing the turkey. Over the years we have given and taken the best recipes that our families raised us on. That “corn dish” Melanie’s mom made, straight from heaven. Though it needs a new name because I am 100% positive there’s more cheese than corn in it. NO one’s angry about it, but it could be misleading.
This Friendsgiving tradition has made me feel a lot of things over the years, but here’s my heart as it stands right now.
- I am still grateful for my parents and family growing up who MADE all this food. This is a huge undertaking (ie. time, money, sacrifice of only catching snippets of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade).
- I am glad my folks let me play around in the kitchen so that once I’d be on my own I wouldn’t drown. My mom especially would ask me beforehand if there were special things I wanted to try for big dinners like this. To this day, she asks me when I go home if there are any new recipes I’d like to try (how sweet).
- Family doesn’t always have to equal “related by blood.” Holidays have a tendency to be all about blood relatives, but in many ways Friendsgiving has taught me to see these people as extended family — which is special. Inevitably every year there are a few people at the table I already know — and some that I don’t know so well at all. There’s always a part of me that misses being with my immediate family on Thanksgiving, but there’s a huge part of my heart now that beats harder and faster at the thought of sharing this special meal with pseudo-strangers. There is such beauty in sharing a Thanksgiving meal with a group of people who hail from different families, traditions, beliefs, and recipe books. There is power.
- Thankfulness is such an intimate thing. This season of Thanksgiving especially has been hard for me because I have felt the commercialism of it so much heavier. I have been shocked and mortified at it — the petty “thankful for Prada,” “thankful for this Skinny Mocha,” and “thankful I didn’t get her pregnant” ads that I’ve heard on the radio. YES. All are real examples. I’m annoyed with how quick we have been as a society to glaze over true thankfulness — giving our outward thanks and affections to whatever our tingles our tastebuds.
- Thankfulness is not just about what we have. The biggest thing I am thankful for this year has nothing to do with any one possession, one achievement, or one gift. I don’t have much on paper, and my achievements are relatively normal for being a twentysomething middle-class lady in the US right now. For goodness sake, I barely finished my undergrad degree (3 years late) and went through a divorce before the ripe age of 25, so in terms of thankfulness you’d link it’d be a year of “slim pickins” for sure. The thing is, the depth of my thankfulness seems to match the level of heartache and hardship that this year has brought about. What I am most thankful for this year is not even something I can put in a box or even name because it has been a series of events, circumstances, unlikely friendships, and decisions that I was presented with. In moments, my thankfulness has been simple: Lord, thank you for this bed to sleep in. For quiet. For the weekend. For evenings off. For waking up to my alarm the first time. This year has been a year of grief and transition, undoubtedly. I have been surrounded by countless friends and advocates and still felt very alone on my journey. If I were only looking for accomplishments and “things” in my possession, it would be easy to feel weighted down, disparaged. More than anything else I am thankful for my safety, the ability and freedom I have to make decisions for my future, for health, and hope.
Now, go eat pie and be thankful for real things.
Wanna make this pie on your own? You can.