It's Thanksgiving weekend here in the States ... something that I had never fully understood or appreciated until I lived here in America. Even though I have shared in a few Thanksgiving meals back in the UK, quite a few years ago, I only learnt the history side of what it all meant and what was traditionally eaten but didn't get the true essence.
While we were recently back home in England a few people were asking about Thanksgiving as we had planned our flights so that we wouldn't miss celebrating it in America. We were able to explain that although there is a lot of hype about the food ... it is essentially a long weekend starting on the Wednesday evening, a chance to spend quality time with family and close friends and a time to reflect on what is important and all that we have to be thankful for since the previous year.
The food is similar to what the English would expect for a traditional Christmas meal ... Roast Turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans, cranberry sauce etc ... although back in England we would swap the mashed potatoes for roasted ones, include sausages wrapped in bacon and more veggies not forgetting the brussel sprouts. The Thanksgiving meal is also a time when the Pumpkin Pie (and pumpkin dishes of other varieties!!) come out in full force too!
I have had the privilege of spending three Thanksgivings here in the States, each one very different. The first with 3 other families, the second with 10 other families (and huge amounts of food!) and this time, just us and another family with two small children, similar in age to our two girls. Each time it has been slightly different but always a chance to stop, spend quality time with special people and think about all that we're thankful for. Something that in the hustle and bustle of life in the UK we don't tend to do.
As Naomi is officially American 'on paper' anyway, we have decided that we will try to incorporate some of the cultural experiences we have learnt here into our own family traditions. This is definitely one that we will be taking with us ... and probably tweaking a little to suit us better depending on where we are in the world.
I have loved the opportunity to sit back and reflect on what has happened in the last year and think about what I am thankful for. Here are just a couple of those (once you start, it is easy to go on forever ... try it!) ...
- For the safe arrival of Naomi in April
- For a well-timed and safe trip to the UK this last month
- For the life of my Nan
- For the continued support from family, friends and churches in the UK
- For the chance to take our family overseas and work for MAF
- For a home that we love