Respect the Turkey: On Being Thankful

When people asked me on Monday if I had a good Thanksgiving they gave me a weird look when I responded with, “Actually, yes, it was great.”

Here’s why I say “actually”…

First: I hosted my very first Thanksgiving. Complete with a 22 pound turkey.
Second: My entire family was there. And when I say “entire” I’m talking about myself, Andy and Rylee (obviously). I’m talking about my father in law (my MIL was still in upstate NY) who is known for his “if I like you I give you a really hard time”/stubborn personality. My dad who is known for being quiet. My mom. My sister Kristen. Kristen’s new boyfriend Corey who is in his 3rd year of law school and for some crazy-ass reason chose this to be the day of the “first meet”. My little brother Jonny. My little sister Keri. And my mom’s husband, Marvin, who if he likes you has the sweetest heart, but I will describe as “rough around the edges” and just generally outspoken.
Third: All of the above attendees sat together. At one table. At the same time.
Fourth: There was alcohol. This could have made things go really, really well or really, really bad.

The cooking and prep work went off without a hitch. I told everyone we would be eating at 4:00 PM and we were sitting down at the table at roughly 4:07 PM. WIN!

As we were gathered around the table eating and laughing and talking, as one family does, Marvin set down his fork and looked around the table. {let me interject here and tell you that while I love Marvin to death, you never really know what is going to come out of his mouth. He is the epitome of a “biker”. Sometimes I cringe at the thought and then have to take another drink of my wine. To say he’s had a rough life with a colorful past would be a vast understatement, but has done wonders to turn it around. Like I mentioned before, he has the sweetest heart.} His face and voice had a certain softness come across them. He cocked his head and with a smile, looked at my daughter — his grandbaby — and said, “Rylee, what are you thankful for?”

Everyone paused and turned to our little 2 and a half year old monster who was busy mowing down on her dinner. I repeated the question to her and she looked up and told us she was thankful for her mac-n-cheese. Spoken like a true 2 year old here.

Marvin proceeded to go around the table and ask every single one of us what we were thankful for. Most of us said family. My brother and little sister were thankful for their friends (duh, what 16 year old isn’t). My sister’s boyfriend said he was thankful for her. {barf.} Marvin skipped himself during this whole thing, so once everyone had said what they were thankful for, we turned the question back on him.

He paused. Looked around again. {insert panicked look across my face here} Then his chin kind of quivered and his eyes glazed over and he said, “I’m thankful that I have a family to sit here at this table and eat with. I never had this growing up. I’m thankful for my family.”

Wow…I just stopped. To be honest, I almost cried myself. While I said that I was thankful for my family, to hear Marvin say it meant so much more. It really hit home. I’ve always had a family it sit down with on Thanksgiving. Actually, sometimes even 5 different families. To me, family was sometimes even a burden, especially on the year we literally went to five.different.houses. I’ve never even thought about the alternative.

So, here’s to being thankful for my family. I mean really thankful. The whole colorful, crazy bunch of them.

8 thoughts on “Respect the Turkey: On Being Thankful

  1. Marjorie

    What a great Thanksgiving story… glad to have read it! Congrats on your first hosted Thanksgiving actually being successful!

  2. karey

    That is so sweet, I'm a bit teary-eyed myself! Awesome job on the hosting! I'm SOOOO not brave enough for that yet (and neither is my family, for that matter, lol).

    Also, I laughed out loud at the {barf}. Really. I was afraid I was going to wake Jack up from his nap. :) That's awesome. Poor guy probably doesn't even know what he's in for (as do none of the future spouses of my siblings, lol).

  3. Lilmissrysmama

    Hahaha, I'm glad you didn't wake Jack up! :) When he said it I actually said "I just threw up a little bit in my mouth!" It was pretty comical.

    I bet you'd host a great Thanksgiving. And if you're really that worried, do like I did and have your sister do a bunch of it! :)

  4. kris

    Oh, this is a lovely story.

    I am so glad that the dinner went well, and that you had such a lovely group with which to share the holiday.

    But more? I am so happy to hear Marvin's words. To hear that he recognized the value of the loving family that surrounded him. He appreciated the experience that much more for not having had it in his youth. Love that.

    And what a fabulous gift he was able to give you by being able to share his thoughts and feelings.

    Well done, you.

    What a fabulous Thanksgiving you had!

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