Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays because it’s the one tradition my family keeps. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t like a holiday centered around food?
Every Thanksgiving since as far as I can remember, my family has dinner with my best friend Jen’s family. Our parents have known each other since college, so we grew up hand-in-hand. Sometimes the menu changes, sometimes more families join in, and goodness knows we all age, but every year it’s a full meal and lots of laughter.
A few years ago, Kristan and I added our own tradition to Thanksgiving. The two of us would return to Houston and run — or more realistically walk — the Turkey Trot, an early morning 10K race benefitting Sheltering Arms. Then we’d rush back home to shower, and in the afternoon we’d volunteer at the Superfeast in downtown Houston. Later in the evening, we would go to our respective family dinners.
Last year, Kristan changed our tradition. She understandably wanted to spend time with her boyfriend Andy and his family. At first I was disappointed, but I still had my other traditions. I knew I’d get to spend time with Jen, gorging on stuffing and pumpkin pie. I could deal with a little change.
Little did I know, that little change was just the beginning…
For years and years my Thanksgiving traditions were the same, and this year I was looking forward to another rambunctious gathering. However, in October I abruptly uprooted my entire life in Texas to start a new job in New York City. Given the quick timing, I found myself unable to return home for Thanksgiving.
At first I didn’t think too much of it, but as the holiday approached, I started to realize how incredibly homesick I was. Friends and coworkers talked about their plans for family gatherings and delicious menus, and I secretly envied them. Luckily though, a few New Yorkers reached out and helped me plan a new Thanksgiving for myself.
Just between us Texans, I want you to know that despite their reputation, New Yorkers are very sweet. From an Italian father with a great love of tea, to a sweet couple I met at IKEA, to my boss who I admire greatly, I have gotten to know an amazing number of very nice, very open people. In fact, after just one meeting, the IKEA couple invited me to join them for their Thanksgiving lunch.
Everyone says that when traditions end, you start a new one. But I’m not looking to start a new tradition, I am just looking to start my adventures, because who knows how next year will change. This year I am spending Thanksgiving with three different families, which also means three big meals and, of course, an overabundance of laughter. Next year, who knows?
And yes I am still a bit homesick, but I also realize that now I have many homes welcoming me. So I give thanks for all the good in my life, I look forward to returning to Houston for Christmas, and I wish all you dear readers a very happy holiday season.