I have a confession: Thanksgiving makes me jealous.
I’m very thankful for all the things I have. My family is healthy, happy, and fed. I have a home. Most of my problems are what I call “First World Problems” and I always try to remember how lucky I am.
My jealousy has to do with family. More specifically, it has to do with Thanksgiving dinner.
I’ve lived in California my whole life. For most people, a lifetime in one place means being surrounded by family. That’s not the case for me. Both of my parents are from the east coast. My mom is from a long line of New Englanders (traced back to the Mayflower) and my dad is a New Yorker whose parents were from Virginia. The only family I’ve ever had close by was my immediate family. Even though I grew up with 3 siblings, I can’t remember a single Thanksgiving with my brothers. I remember my sister, my mom, and my dad.
I’m now 28 and have a husband and 5 children of my own, but I still get jealous at Thanksgiving commercials. Are there really families that have those big Thanksgiving gatherings? Facebook reminds me that, yes, there are many families that do that.
I’ve had 2 big Thanksgivings in my life.
The first was when I was pregnant with my first child. It was a bitter sweet event because it was a farewell to my dying grandfather. It was the day after my first wedding but my husband didn’t come. That was the only Thanksgiving I’ve ever had with my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. It was a lot like what I’ve seen in movies in both the good and bad. Good in that it was the most unity I ever saw in my extended family. Bad in that it made ripples in our family that are still settling all these years later.
The second was with Ant’s father a year later. He was recently married and his new wife wanted to show off her new money. It was all her mother and all her siblings. Our trio was there to represent Ant’s dad’s side of the family. Again, it was like a movie, though less fun than the one with my family.
In the years since, we’ve added to our own nuclear family many times. Having more kids became a good reason to host at our house, but there just isn’t that much family to host. My mom and sister always come and my dad occasionally drops by, but Ant’s dad and newly exed wife live in Montana now. Almost all the rest of Ant’s family is in Washington or Virginia.
One day, I want my kids to have a Thanksgiving with cousins and multiple aunts and uncles. I’m jealous of those who have that. I’ll continue to be thankful for all that I have, but I still want a massive family Thanksgiving dinner. 🙂 Think of all the pies and cakes I could bake…