Many people grow up without knowing their extended family — second, third, fourth even fifth cousins. And for my family, we all grew up together. Thanksgiving holds a significant and special place in my heart because as a child, we would travel as a family to Dallas where we would get together with more than 40 cousins, young and old. Everyone would travel from around Texas and beyond to be together at Thanksgiving. It was always such a blessing to see everyone and was something I looked forward to every year.
We would spend Thanksgiving Day at my great aunt’s house enjoying the delicious meal, watching football, playing in the yard, telling stories, catching up on life and love. And then the following day, we’d rent a bus, load up and take the 45-minute trip to Fort Worth where we’d chow down at a local Mexican restaurant for dinner. We’d rent out the party room and enjoy our meal with flowing margaritas and lots of laughter. Needless to say, lots of wonderful memories were made throughout the weekend.
While this continued for more than a decade, the beloved Thanksgiving tradition has since changed. We no longer make the trip to be together in Dallas at Thanksgiving. People have grown up, gotten married, had kids, moved… And although I love our new traditions, I always think of my 40+ cousins on Thanksgiving. I’m thankful for our elders who made that tradition possible and emphasized the importance of family to the younger generations. We may have only seen each other one time per year but it was enough to make Thanksgiving the best holiday ever.
My husband and I don’t have children yet and are still trying to figure out our holiday traditions as a couple, but I know one thing for sure. I will never take the meaning behind Thanksgiving for granted. I am thankful every single day that I had those moments with my extended family, some of whom we rarely see anymore. I am thankful for the significance this beautiful holiday played in my childhood.
Whatever your traditions are this Thanksgiving… Enjoy them. Savor them. Cherish them. Take a moment to be thankful for the turkey and the trimmings and the people you get to share them with. I know I will.