This year was a turning point in Thanksgiving traditions. I didn’t go anywhere. I stayed home. With Daniel. We cooked and laughed and lounged around and it was relaxing and completely stress-free. It was a first.
It was also the first year since I can remember where my mom’s side of the family didn’t get together. Aunt Susan and Uncle Herman decided to migrate to Florida a month ago and are hibernating there until Spring. Aunt Linda, Uncle Keith and Cousins all went to Los Angeles to visit Cousin Kaitlin for Thanksgiving. Uncle Tom, Aunt Becky and Cousin Claire all stayed home in West Virginia. Cousin Jason was working. Cousin Robert is missing. Sister Bethany stayed home in New Jersey and fasted. And Mom and Grandpa went to Perkins for Thanksgiving dinner.
It feels weird…and a little sad.
On the other side of the family, there used to be upwards of 25 people gathered at my Nana’s for Thanksgiving dinner. This year there were 8.
I don’t know if having close extended families is unusual or not, but I’m used to every aunt, uncle and cousin getting together at nearly every major holiday (including the 4th of July). And while I really despise traveling over the holidays, still there’s lingering nostalgia for the way things used to be. Even if I’m not a part of it, I still want everyone else to continue the family traditions. Silly, I know.
My immediate family includes just me, my sister, and my mom and we all live far away from each other, which kinda sucks in the family holiday traditions department. But what can you do? People just don’t stay put anymore. Things change. Traditions evolve. And there you have it.