When I think about Thanksgiving, my memories seem to swirl around how much fun my dad and I would have that morning. He would get up and build a roaring fire in the fireplace in our family room bright and early. Then, while Mom was busy getting the turkey ready for the oven and 106 other things done, we’d sit and watch the Macy’s Parade on TV. We’d talk about the floats and bands. In high school, Daddy was in the band so he always enjoyed watching the marching bands in the parade. Maybe that is where my early love of music came from.
By the time Mom would find us, we’d be firmly rooted to our spots, reluctant to be immersed in the preparations for the day. As we trudged off to breakfast and the awaiting tasks to get ready for company, or prepare to leave for a relative’s home, we’d give one last final glance at the parade. I can’t think of a year we actually watched the entire thing, but that didn’t stop us from trying.
As the youngest child in my family, I sometimes think my dad had more time – or made more time – to enjoy the simple things with me. My two brothers and sister were 19, 17 and 14 years older than me. By the time I came along, my parents were “middle aged” and much more settled in life than they had been when my siblings were young.
Thanksgiving night, when everyone was overfed and exhausted, Mom would help me cut up strips of wrapping paper to make a paper chain. We would count how many days until Christmas and paste together that many links in the chain. Then I would get to take one off each day until Christmas arrived. I’m sure, after cooking, cleaning and entertaining all day, the last thing Mom wanted to do was sit and help with my cut and paste project, but she did. There wasn’t a year that went by that I didn’t have a paper chain. I will admit, I even had them up into my teen years because, by then, it was a family tradition.
For all the traditions they shared, for the new ones they created, for the time they made to spend with me, I am very grateful to my parents. They certainly didn’t have to, but I’m thankful they did.
Wishing you and your loved ones a Thanksgiving full of wonderful moments that will become warm memories.