Thanksgiving Traditions, Even When the Turkey’s Terrible

Thanksgiving was always the one holiday of the year when my husband, our two children and I all traveled to Pittsburgh, where I grew up. It was something we thought of as my mom’s holiday–the one time every year when she knew she’d have us and my brother’s family all at her dining room table.

We lost my mom in March, 2014. She was the very best person I’ve ever known and the loss was devastating for me. As she struggled through about ten years of a debilitating illness, my daughter and I would travel to Pittsburgh and help her to make Thanksgiving dinner. I learned how to make that meal in exactly the same way that my mom, and my grandma and my great grandmother made it. 

For the last two Thanksgivings, we’ve struggled to find our way as a family. The Thanksgiving after my mom passed, my dear friend Rachel had us over for dinner with her family. It was generous of her and delicious and just weird. This was her family, not mine! And while the meal was definitely better than any my mom and I had made (let’s face it, my mom and I were never good cooks and the turkey was lousy most years), it didn’t taste like ours.

Then last year we traveled back to Pittsburgh where we met my dad and my brother and his wife for a Thanksgiving dinner at the local Italian restaurant. Good gracious that was awful!

This year brings a new tradition and I think we’ll finally get it right. We’re having dinner tomorrow at my in-laws. It’ll just be the four of us because our son lives in Florida and our daughter will be at her in-laws. But on Saturday, my beautiful daughter Bryna–who’s as much like my mother as a person can be–will come over and help me prepare Thanksgiving dinner in exactly the same way the three women before us did it.

I think that’s what traditions and family holidays must be about, right? Remembering all of the people we’ve loved and who have loved us while treasuring the family we have at the table.

The turkey may suck, but it’ll be a great reminder of all of the Thanksgivings before this one. I can imagine my mum shrugging her shoulders and saying, “I never really liked turkey anyway Kimberly.”

I sincerely hope that the next four days bring everyone lots of time with those you love the most. Happy Thanksgiving!

  1. You are every bit as great of a mother and educational leader. I am so thankful to be a part of your team at SGI. Enjoy the time with your family

  2. I hope and pray that you have a meaningful Thanksgiving being with family on both of the days. Your turkey may not be great (as you have suggested) but that doesn’t matter! I am so grateful for the compassionate heart you have. God’s Blessings!

  3. So true. As we age and family’s enlarge from children and get smaller from death we do our best to sit down with all one of these next four days and enjoy a meal together.
    My wife doesn’t like turkey either but I like it so she so graciously goes thru all the motions to make me happy.
    Life is great that day.
    So enjoy the happiness of friends and family as memories are made, good or bad during this nice long weekend.

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