I know it has been a full week since Thanksgiving, and I have neglected to share stories, but every time I sit down to write a blog entry, I forget that I meant to tell you all about it.
A week late, the story of our Thanksgiving...
Most Thanksgiving, Mike's extended family plans a get-together, and this year it was at his Aunt Cindy's house. Now, growing up in a military family, I can tell you that in my childhood we never had extended family holidays. Holidays for us were a more intimate time of my mom, dad, and us kids gathered around our table. I don't regret that for a minute, and I look back on those childhood holidays with a fond and warm heart. Those are treasured times that are not diminished in the least by the negative events that have taken place since then.
But I never had a big family gathering at Thanksgiving, until I met Mike. The first couple years, I have to admit, were pretty awkward for me. I wasn't sure how to fit in exactly, and I so desperately wanted everyone to like me and to accept me. I had a good time each year, and I was silly to worry so much, but such is my nature.
Slowly over the years, I have had the chance to get to know his family, and to feel at home with them, so I was really looking forward to this Thanksgiving gathering, and they did not disappoint.
It was everything you read about a family Thanksgiving being. Two generations of kinfolk gathered around a long table (actually three tables put together), covered with more food than we could possibly eat (although we certainly tried). What I love most about it is the conversations that go on during dinner. The joking, the reminiscing, the funny stories they told, it was all part of a magical memory that I now have.
It is another memory I will hold close in fondness and warmth. And someday, this is the kind of family environment that I hope to pass on to our children. Families are never perfect. There are always those issues that rub people the wrong way, the personalities that are never going to perfectly match, the hurts and the words that only families can understand.
But this Thanksgiving, I counted myself blessed to be a part of a family that understands what being a family really means. That no matter what happens, no matter the family squabbles that may occur, that underneath it all, is family. That foundation remains strong and firm. That foundation is forever.
And as we sat there on Thanksgiving, I looked around at the people that I used to think of as Mike's family, and I realized that they are MY family now too. And that in the future, should Mike and I be blessed with a child, they will have this family too. They will be surrounded with memories and relatives. Most of all, they will be (as we are now) surrounded with love.