Wednesday, November 27, 2013

New Traditions

Thanksgiving.  One word.  So many meanings.

As a kid, I remember going to the Thanksgiving Parade on the Parkway in Philadelphia and watching all of the floats go by with my grandfather.  My grandparents had an apartment with a beautiful view so I remember watching the parade in person but also from the great big windows of their place.  My brother and I would sleep over the night before and I remember it being so much fun.  I do not remember any other sleepovers there, but I am sure there must have been some. 

As a teen, Thanksgiving lost its luster.  My parents had divorced by then and I guess we were too old to go to my grandparents any more.  So the holiday was split between parents and often times, my siblings and I were split, too.  The day was always ok, but the joy was gone for me.  I was always welcome where I went and my step-family took me in without a second thought, but something was always missing.

As an  adult, Thanksgiving became ok again.  My parents, while still divorced, had become amicable enough for us to spend the holiday together.  By then, my dad had an apartment in New York and we would all go there for the long weekend.  Turkey dinner was just the start - there would be Broadway shows and shopping and pretty much all you can imagine Thanksgiving in New York would be.

Over time, the New York tradition got phased out and we were back to being local.  Our family started to grow.  We started to include others.  Other people hosted us.  But we were always together as much as we could be.

This year is Miranda's first Thanksgiving.  How I have waited for this day!  I remember not too long ago asking if I could bring my boyfriend to Thanksgiving.  He then became my husband.  Then there was the Thanksgiving where I was pregnant and we all laughed at how different the next year would be.  And it was - but not for the reasons we thought.

We contacted the adoption agency in mid-November last year and hoped and prayed that we would be parenting within the year.  Tomorrow, we will have an almost 8 month old sitting beside us at the table.  Just goes to show that you never know what will happen from year to year.

Last year, Ella was at the table at Allie was in our hearts.  This year, Ella is joined by her sister Summer and her cousin Miranda.  And Allie will still be there tucked in our hearts.

I am not sure what traditions Miranda will grow up with on Thanksgiving.  It's funny that her first Thanksgiving is also the first day of Hanukkah.  That's not too confusing, right?  It will not happen again in her lifetime so in a way, it's cool that she can experience it, I guess.  As she gets older, will we take her to a parade?  Will her grandparents?  Will she have memories of her cousins all playing and the smells of delicious food cooking in the air? Will she love apple pie like me or prefer turkey like Gary?  Time will tell, I suppose.

I would be remiss not to mention my dad.  He loved this holiday.  He loved to host.  It was his parents that formed some of my earliest memories.  He is currently in a nursing home and not able to be with us.  He is deteriorating quickly.  Dementia has taken much of his mind.   He is a shell of who he used to be.  

My dad and I have such a splintered past.  But he is my dad and for that, I love him.  And I will tell Miranda all the good things about him and make sure she knows what kind of man he was, when he was a good man.  Most likely, our new family traditions will not include him, but the best of him will always be with us.

I am thankful for that.  For the memories of the past and the hopes of the future.  I am thankful for it all.

Getting ready for Hanukkah!

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