I am from a family of nine (9) children, five (5) brothers and three (3) sisters. Thanksgiving was never quiet and never boring. What makes Thanksgiving special to me is that the focus is on spending the time with family. As I grew older and left for college, and then later began a life on my own, the opportunity to spend the time with my parents and siblings was precious.
Thanksgiving was an all day potluck affair. There was always way more food than we could eat at that time. Spending time in my room in the house that I grew up in was always a unique, special feeling… – until I came home from college one Thanksgiving to discover that my brother Mark had taken over & redecorated my room.
I never, ever missed a Thanksgiving celebration until I was in my fifties with kids of my own. Both of my kids played competitive soccer. For whatever reason, major soccer tournaments were held over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. I was very reluctant to go because I felt that the family celebration was very important. Nevertheless, I took my daughter with her team to San Diego. This began a new chapter where Thanksgiving family dinners were replaced with a variety of soccer tournaments: Nomads Thanksgiving Tournament (San Diego), Surf Cup/Thanksgiving Tournament (San Diego), Irvine Soccer Academy Tournaments, Disney Soccer Shower Tournament (Disneyland).
One year, after a tournament in Irvine with my daughter, we visited Disneyland with free passes from some of the parents. For whatever reason, the park was almost empty. No lines for any rides or activities. The park was decorated for Christmas. Disneyland was an awesome experience without any lines.
We were lucky because the kids and the parents of both my daughter’s team and my son’s team got along pretty well. A new set of memories and friends developed. My kids both continued to play club and tournament soccer until they left college at around eighteen (18) years of age. I sometimes still wonder if I made the right choice in missing family celebrations…
Wishing you and yours all the best for Thanksgiving and the holidays.