Okay, I know that most of my readers are in the USA. Surely you know that one of the quirks about us Canadians is that we celebrate Thanksgiving in October? To all the Canadians, I hope you had a Thanksgiving as wonderful as mine!
As a child, my Thanksgivings were all (nearly?) spent in Belleville, Ontario, at my Grandma’s house. I remember oak leaves on the ground, a warmth to the old house, Grandma bustling about, Turkey roasting and pies baking, the house feeling full despite our small family. Lots of laughter, the good china shone with bright colours, and the silver cutlery gleamed.
Once I moved out west, Thanksgiving was at Nana’s and Grandad’s. I’d head up there for the long weekend, relax and catch up on sleep, help how I could in the kitchen, and ignore my coursework. Grandad would play the small electric organ they had, and Nana and I would chat while the turkey roasted. I’d be sent home with leftovers and cookies to share with friends.
Then there were a few Thanksgivings where I went to Ottawa for a whirlwind week-long visit, spending some time at each parent’s home, with warmth and love. The trees here in Vancouver just never change as dramatically as they do in eastern Ontario, there’s a brief change here and then wind and rain strip the trees bare too fast. Mom and Bill were married on Thanksgiving weekend. There was the time we could still swim it was so warm (was that the same year?). I think of sour green apples now when I think of Thanksgiving at the lake, thanks to the year I was pregnant and was sucking back anything sour I could find to keep the nausea in check. And I think of the following year, with Cameron, and the love that we were both wrapped in, at both the Lake, and Dad and Janice’s. Oh. And over-salting the pumpkin pie’s pastry. Yuck. It was inedible.
Then there were the years that Dad and Janice came out to BC for Thanksgiving. At first I wasn’t sure about this, I’d started to identify Thanksgiving as being held at the Lake and found it hard to shift gears. But right away I found that the place isn’t what matters. It’s being with people who are important to you, who you love. I’d make pie, Janice and Dad took care of the rest. Christina joined us for dinner, and my bright yellow kitchen was filled with love, joy, and happiness.
This year, there was another change. Dad and Janice couldn’t come this year, and this is the first Thanksgiving that Leif and I are really together. Fall is in the air for sure, the leaves are more brightly coloured than usual for here, and the rain hasn’t yet become steady.
Leif’s parents hosted a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday, full of the feeling of family togetherness, and Cameron and I were welcomed. Cameron adores Leif’s family, and throws himself into their arms for hugs with enthusiasm. Kate unfortunately couldn’t be there – she was missed for sure – but her small cousin was, a sweet little three year old girl. Cameron enjoyed being the older kid for a change. Dinner, filled with the traditional dishes of Thanksgiving, was wonderful.
On Sunday, after a sunshiny hike in the mountains for the early afternoon, we were invited upstairs for a Thanksgiving dinner with Joanne and Paul, their girls, and Joanne’s brother and father. The kids played and watched videos (and Paul made several quick trips to their playroom to keep the entertainment going) while the grownups chatted and enjoyed a delicious dinner. I’ve known and been close to this family for so long, in some ways it felt like dinner with family, catching up with them, relaxing with them.
I’m thankful for so many things.
For Cameron – for the person he is becoming, for his bright smile and easy laughter, for his health.
For family, our shared unconditional love and support, just thinking about them is like getting a hug. It’s too bad we live so far apart.
For Leif, and the chances that brought us together.
For the friends, and families of friends, and Kate and Leif’s family. So many people who I appreciate for who they are.
For the luck and good fortune to live where and when we do.
For my memories of Thanksgivings past.
For all the Thanksgivings I’ll enjoy in years to come.