My kids like Thanksgiving a tiny bit more than I do.
Hey, I grew up in England, so I have no rosy childhood memories connected with the holiday. I have many rosy memories connected with Bonfire night, Harvest festivals, and May Day, but not Thanksgiving. I never learned about it at school, or took part in any pageants dressed as a chubby little turkey (you know I would have been the turkey).
When my daughter first came home with the story of the first Thanksgiving, that sweet story about sharing, love and pilgrims wearing huge buckles on their shoes, I automatically felt sad for the indigenous people of America, who paid a huge price when the European settlers arrived; I am too old to listen innocently to that story. Let’s be honest, Thanksgiving for me has always just been a blip on my calendar, a little distraction from my Christmas shopping, Christmas decorating, and cookie baking. I have always treated it as a non-day, a day of lounging.
Until This Year
“But I want a proper Thanksgiving!” Yelled my son last night. It’s a big deal to him it seems.His friends are eating turkey and inviting family over, and thinking hard about what they are grateful for in life. Well, we are vegetarian, so homemade pizza will have to do, but giving thanks for all the good things in our lives, well that does sound like something I can get behind. This year, we will make our own traditions, and celebrate Thanksgiving in our own way. Pizza, fiery hot jalapeno cornbread, family, low maintenance sweatpants and slippers, board games, Harry Potter movies, group hugs (my idea), and really, really, thinking about what we have to be grateful for. I’ve been thinking about this already, here are some obvious, and not so obvious ones:
My family (this is one of the obvious ones) who are gorgeous in so many ways that I can’t even begin to put them into words, so I won’t.
The new(ish) friends that I have made over here, that have made me feel welcome, and been a comfort over the past few weeks, when truth be told, I crumbled a bit.
The old friends who, even though I only see them once a year or less, when I visit England, still pick up where we left off, and make me feel more ‘me’ again.
My British Indian childhood, that prepared me for my life as a smart ass, sarcastic, and outspoken woman, bridger of cultural gaps, stereotype breaker. It made me sensitive to the next generation of children growing between multiple cultures. It taught me to keep an open mind about people, and never take anything for granted.
Art and design, for giving me a language that makes communication so much easier, and for giving me succour and direction.
My studio, it may be a tiny half bedroom with a broken closet packed with art materials, but it is still mine, and I’m lucky to have it. I’m lucky to have the beautiful house that it is in as well.
My ‘otherness’. My background, race, multiple nationalities and career choices mean that I have always been a minority, and have often felt, and been perceived as ‘other’ wherever I go. This is not necessarily a bad thing, I think it has made me more empathetic and helps me see things from many perspectives. I hope my children discover this about themselves too.
People who will stick up for others. The rabble rousers and dreamers, the outspoken people who care so much about what is right, and want to change the world for the better. Thank goodness for them, we can all take a page out of their books. Speaking of which…
Books JUST BOOKS. I am a bibliophile, and so are my kids, books cheer us up, make us smart, make us laugh and cry , teach us so many, many things. Thank you books.
Goodness, I could keep going, but I’ll save it for my adorable family, who love to listen to my long impassioned rants. Happy Thanksgiving everybody, stay thankful and spend the weekend (and your lives) being kind to one another.
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