Column: Isn’t that what the day is all about?I know things have to change. My rational side tells me that and I believe it. Children grow up. Families change. Priorities change. It’s part of life. I get that. And that’s where I am this year with Thanksgiving. This will be the first time in my 45 years that I haven’t been with my family for Thanksgiving.
By: Michelle Leonard, The Farmington Independent
I’ll admit, I’m not one to embrace change. And I’m also a stickler for family traditions.
I know things have to change. My rational side tells me that and I believe it. Children grow up. Families change. Priorities change. It’s part of life. I get that.
And that’s where I am this year with Thanksgiving. This will be the first time in my 45 years that I haven’t been with my family for Thanksgiving.
My sister and her family moved to Colorado in August, and have had to make quite a few changes of their own. They had been in Minnesota for the past three years, but my brother-in-law’s career necessitated a move to Colorado. She extended an invitation to our family – she invited us all down for Thanksgiving. Us, being myself and The Beau, my brother’s family, and my folks. Excluded from the “us,” though, happens to be our dog, and my brother’s dog.
Long story short, The Beau and I are staying behind and dog-sitting. It really makes the most sense. But it will be an adjustment, to be sure.
Even up until about 2006, The Leonards – and I mean, all 60-plus of us in my dad’s family – would meet up for Thanksgiving. It wasn’t until after my grandmother passed away that my dad and his siblings decided to end that tradition. A family tradition had come to an end, and it took a little getting used to.
Instead, my mom started doing a Thanksgiving dinner, just for our family, in Hastings. It was a lot quieter, at least until my brother’s twins came along. But still, we were together as a family, and it felt good.
Unfortunately for my sister, her family has been located in Milwaukee, Nashville, Lake Elmo and now Denver. She’s missed years of Thanksgivings, Christmas Eves and Easters with the rest of our family.
My sister-in-law’s family is spread around Milwaukee and Chicago, and they really don’t get together for holidays. None of her siblings have children. So my brother’s kids really only have their one set of cousins to play with, and they’re all in Colorado.
On the other hand, The Beau’s family is here in Minnesota. His brother and his sister and her family live in St. Paul, his mother is in Mendota Heights, and his grandparents are also in Hastings. In actuality, we’ve spent the past two Thanksgivings eating a big lunch at his grandmother’s house, then driving over to my parent’s place for a big dinner. Christmas presents the same problem, only we have to work a church service into the mix, as well.
When the pooch problem came up while we were talking about Thanksgiving, it became apparent to me that staying behind and taking care of my brother’s dog just made the most sense. Particularly, because I knew I’d be surrounded by family, anyway – the family I have through my beau.
When I really think about it that way, I start to think that maybe change isn’t so bad after all.
I’ll miss my family dearly, and there will be things that I’ll miss. But we’ll also be able to take our time after lunch. We’ll be able to sit and visit for the afternoon. We’ll be with family, and we’ll give thanks for that.
In the grand scheme of things, I’m very fortunate to have the family that I do. I’m lucky to have people I love so much that breaking from one family tradition hurts a little bit, and I’m lucky to be welcomed in my new family, too.
Most of all, I’m thankful for the blessings that each one of them has given me in my life. Isn’t that what Thanksgiving is all about?