All holidays make me a little homesick, but for some reason, Thanksgiving triggers that feeling the most. The first time I spent Thanksgiving away from my family of origin was when I was studying abroad in England. I was attending a university center in London, run by Brits and attended exclusively by Americans. The school very kindly hosted a lovely Thanksgiving party for us. It was an effort to entertain us on what they knew to be a day of homesickness for us all. The party was in a large banquet hall with a dance floor. Everyone was dressed up and tried to enjoy the party atmosphere. My flatmates and I sat at a large round table and choked down a meal that was tasty, but a poor imitation of the Thanksgiving spread we had expected. It was clearly English food. It was good (don’t believe everything you hear about English cuisine), but it was not the sumptuous American feast to which we are accustomed. It only served to aggravate our longing to be home with family. We sulked back to our flat to feel sorry for ourselves.
I moved from home (California) twenty years ago, so Illinois is home now. I have a dear, precious family here, and I’m looking forward to a traditional holiday meal with my husband’s relatives later today. Still, I’m thinking of home. It’s not fair to compare holiday celebrations since every family has its own traditions and expectations. But I can’t help it. I love my family back home, and I miss them. The food will be wonderful, and the decorations will be beautiful and inviting.
Even as I muse on what I’m missing, I expose how blessed I am. I am so very thankful to have come from a family that knows how to celebrate. There’s always stimulating conversation and lots of laughter over a spectacular meal. Sure, we have our faults, but it’s a good family, and I’m grateful to have that in my background. And I’m thankful for the reasons I am away from them. I have home and family here that bring me daily joy.