This won’t be the first Thanksgiving Kelly and I have spent without our parents. When I was studying abroad, Kelly’s birthday present was a trip to visit me during her Thanksgiving break from school. Instead of the usual turkey/mashed potato/stuffing combo, we went out for pizza together and ended up getting a free glass of wine because they felt they were taking too long to bring us our food.
Of course, because my family is nuts, when I got home a month later, my welcome back dinner was a full Thanksgiving spread. If a holiday involves food, you can be damn sure the Danvers will be making that food, and will be making it as complicated and delicious as possible. If a holiday doesn’t involve food, well, we’ll give it a meal anyway.
My parents, by the way, are still planning on making Thanksgiving dinner in Australia. They just have to wait to do it over the weekend.
This is the season of clichés. I could tell you that it still felt like Thanksgiving because I got to eat dinner in Edinburgh with my sister. I could tell you that Thanksgiving that year just happened for me a month later, when I got to sit around the dinner table with my family for the first time in months, eating a meal they had made because they loved me and wanted to give me things I’d missed out on. All those things are true.
I get all the complicated entanglements of the season. I get to love it because I am immensely privileged to have a family that I love, who loves me, with none of that weighed down by trauma or fear or conditions. I’m privileged to be safe, to have a home, consistent access to food. I am privileged in that none of the holidays of the season are an assault on my culture, religion, or heritage. I don’t have to Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be complicated or ironic for me because my land wasn’t stolen while my ancestors were murdered. Instead, I did the stealing.
Alright, so maybe Thanksgiving is a little complicated. But I have the privilege of not thinking about it.
Instead, for me, Thanksgiving marks the beginning of a season of sincere expressions of love and gratitude, things I don’t practice often enough. It is a season full of delicious food, and warm memories, particularly now that I’ve grown out of antagonizing people into knock down drag out fights about Israel and Palestine on Christmas Eve (true story). It’s a season I get to spend warm and cozy and appreciative.
This year, Hannah and I will be hosting Thanksgiving for a bunch of our friends and family. We’re going to make our own turkey/mashed potato/stuffing combination, and we’re going to have twice the recommended number of bottles of wine. We’re going to celebrate our friends and the life we’ve cobbled together up here in the Northeast, a pretty long way from the multifaceted and dissonant Virginia we both left.
Also, my sister is visiting. So I’ll be happy ❤