Why say it again. Here's a re-run from a year or two ago about the sweetness and the challenges of a "one big happy family" Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving is a family get-together favorite--for the most part.
It's easy because there are no gifts, decorations or other "extras" to drive everyone to hyperventilate.
It's fun because it's a gathering of several generations of family under one roof--plus the occasional "orphan" or two, which usually brightens the conversation.
It's simple because the meal is pre-ordained. In our family, we've settled into a routine of who will do what--especially the vegan variations. (Shout out to Whole Foods for its very edible vegan fruit pies and pumpkin pie.)
That said, Thanksgiving isn't all that stress free, especially for the parents of the grown children and the grandparents of their children. When the holiday means three to four days at the home of one of one's grown children--when the mantle of hosting has passed to the next generation--there can be a lot of uncomfortable "down time."
We who provide extra helping hands in the kitchen (the stuffing/dressing is my domain) do not feel it as much as those not drawn to kitchen duties. This was especially true this year when one of the Grands in whose home Thanksgiving now takes place turned 16 and was the very proud possessor of a brand-new driver's license. He was Volunteer #1 for any and all errands and store pick-ups. That meant Paterfamilias, who usually broke up the "down" time by running errands, was out of a job. Not fired so much as by-passed.
"Down" time aside, when our grown children and their spouses get together--our children don't live near each other or us--there is a lot of reconnecting. We see each of our grown children and their children several times during the year, but our grown children have fewer face-to-faces with each other. Long and short of it: We're a bit of a fifth wheel at the reunion. It is so wonderful to have both our children and all our grands together under one roof for at least 24 hours, but it is also a battle to feel relevant and be heard.
We should remember--though it's hard to reconcile ourselves to--Lao Tze's philosophic advice:
Your silence is as beautiful as the Harvest moon.
In another bit of poetic advice ("for the second half of life"), Lao Tze says this (as re-interpreted by William Martin in The Sage's Tao Te Ching):
Whatever your losses,
hope and happiness can be yours.
Act each day with compassion
for yourself and others.
Let each inhalation bring you peace
and each exhalation dispel your fears.