This year will be the first Thanksgiving that the four of us in our immediate family won't be spending the holiday together. We knew this would happen sooner or later, but I guess we've always hoped it would be a lot later.
Our youngest is spending the semester studying abroad in Italy. For the first few weeks it was novel and exciting, but now I find myself really missing her as well as our oldest daughter who lives closer, but still a couple of hours away.
Thanksgiving has always been a fairly simple affair in our family, as members of our extended family have other plans or live far away, and so it is generally just us four. Some years we have invited students from the department where I work to join us, and that has made the day really special. One year, when my husband was unemployed and I was working two jobs, I actually had to work on Thanksgiving Day. My husband and girls made his day extra special by taking on all the tasks of building the feast themselves, and treating me to a wonderful meal when I returned home.
As I think about it, I realize that the only tradition that follows us from year to year is to gather and enjoy the day. We have spent it in different ways. This year, my husband and I will travel to Florida and spend the days leading up to Thanksgiving with my parents. I have wanted to do this for the past four or five years but we've never felt like we could afford the trip or else had trouble getting enough time off work. This year, somehow, it all worked out. After visiting my folks and doing some touristy things we'll return home on Thanksgiving Day. Our oldest will pick us up at the airport and we will celebrate the day by enjoying dinner at a restaurant and then perhaps taking in a movie. I'm hoping we can use Skype to talk with our youngest daughter and feel a bit like we are really all together. Maybe it won't be a traditional Thanksgiving , but then again, maybe it will. After all, we'll be keeping up our tradition of making the most of the day with the circumstances we've been given, and we will be grateful. It's hard to ask for more than that.