No two Thanksgivings are alike. That is, if you are new to a family.
I'm the girl friend, and this was technically my second Thanksgiving in SG's life, however, my first official with his family.
No, it did not look anything like my Thanksgiving growing up.
You see, for most of my life, Thanksgiving involved going to my Granny's house. That was my Great-Grandmother on my mother's side. She was a true Matriarch, and in the good old southern way, we would all gather at her home to gorge ourselves on carbohydrates and sugar. Once my beloved Granny passed (I believe I was 17,) we began to have Thanksgiving in our home with my Grandma Betty and Papa. Finally, at the age of 24, that 6-some dwindled down to a 4-some, and just a few years later I would be married.
Then things would change... but not really. My first hubby and I agreed on a schedule for Thanksgiving. Lunch with my family, dinner with his, and both families would be invited to both. It worked, considering the fact we lived a short 30 - 40 minutes from each other. Later, I would divorce him and my sister would marry, but her guy's family would be sort of non existent, so our personal tradition would continue. Again - consistency.
Then I would later remarry the egyptian, and I think that sort of sums it up. He did not celebrate Thanksgiving and his family was overseas. Oftentimes, he would fly home to see his family during this time, and again, I had my family traditions.
Last year, SG and I had just started dating, and though I was invited to his house, I felt it was too soon. So I opted to spend one last Thanksgiving with my fam.
This year, I took the plunge. For the first time, I ventured into someone else's tradition.
It started out fairly well, we went out to eat as a family on that Tuesday night and relaxed at the cabin. On Wednesday, I helped his mom and daughters get the cabin and main home ready for the big day. I even cooked a homemade pumpkin pie (with real pumpkin, not the canned stuff.) Then the big day arrived and I was feeling fairly good about it. I mean, I had the unspoken items I needed to bring - Pumpkin Pie.
Now let me back up....
On Thanksgiving, or at least in my version of Thanksgiving, there are a few items we have to accomplish:
1. Music needs to be on. I need to hear holiday music in the background.
2. Candles or a centerpiece of some kind.
3. Mom's good plates are brought out.
What do we typically serve?
Turkey, of course.
Turkey Giblet Gravy (which I never touch.)
Regular cheap turkey gravy
MASHED POTATOES (just the single best thing about Thanksgiving)
Layered salad (you know the kind, made with sour cream, etc)
Berry-Cranberry Sauce and the canned/congealed kind (which I prefer)
Sweet potato casserole with the marshmallows
Rolls - butter
and PUMPKIN PIE.
Did I mention mashed potatoes?
Sooooo... I carry my little pumpkin pie up to the main house. Little did I know that I was the ONLY person who ate pumpkin pie. Apparently that is a Northern thing.
My dad is a Yankee.
I do remember mom having a token sweet potato pie, but I always opted for the pumpkin.
So that was a bust.
There was turkey.
Then I looked around... and what to my wandering eyes did NOT appear?
Dear Lord in heaven.
I had given up carbs for almost 11 weeks and was SOOOOOOO looking forward to my cheat day at Thanksgiving.
NO MASHED POTATOES.
Then I scoured the buffet looking for some sort of comfort. My eyes darted this way and that. I felt my pulse quicken, a little panic rising up. Then it hit me. I'm not at my family's Thanksgiving.
I got a little scoop of lima beans, a little scoop of sweet potato casserole (without the marshmallows) on my little plastic divided plate. Apparently, SG's mom makes her sweet potatoes with pecans on top. Not my favorite, but it was closer. Then I got a tiny helping of congealed cranberry sauce. There was cole slaw (def not a fave,) and a few other random items I don't eat. As for dessert? Pecan Pie. (Again, a no-go for me.)
Needless to say, I did not gain any weight over Thanksgiving break.
The family scattered to different rooms to eat. No music. No candles. No wine.
But... I had my guy. He looked at me, and smiled.... and I knew what I was most Thankful for.
I did enjoy the woods. We ran the dogs (which, btw, they got a new puppy!) and we roasted marshmallows over a fire at night. It was a nice time with the man I love and his tribe. Each tribe has different customs, and incorporating their life with your own is part of the compromise.
Like the pilgrims did with the natives, I must bring my traditions to the table. You can bet that next year, I'll be in charge of the potatoes. And I'll rock those carbs like no one's business.