This Thanksgiving promises to be something new for me. It's going to be a transition from a single dad, to forming a new family, and working to fold the old in with the new. Its a challenge I delight it, and look forward to, but at the same time, I know it's going to be a difficult.
How do you reconcile two different sets of very strong traditions? Who bends, and who compromises? What things get left behind, and what new traditions begin?
This year, my x-wife is having her traditional Thanksgiving dinner at her home, with her boyfriend and their 2 young boys, up in Pollock Pines. She sets a very good table, and "tradition" has been for me and our girls to join up with my x- and have a great family meal together. The "functional dysfunctional family" I've called it, and as a tradition, it's worked for several years.
This year, I've added some new people to my life, Alene and her daughter, and we have been looking at what we are going to do for Thanksgiving, and how we can fold my traditions in with her and her daughter's traditions, to make something acceptable and new for all of us.
These are things that I've thought about for some time. I mean, its inevitable that, as new family relationships and family units form, old ways are naturally compromised somewhat, and new ways have to be forged together. It's not easy, but it's normal. At least, as normal as can be under the circumstances.
This year, things have worked out well. Alene has been wonderful and made some significant changes to accommodate both me, and her aging grandmother.
Normally, Alene's grandmother would come to her home before Thanksgiving and stay for a couple of days. But with health issues this year, and of course, advancing age, this is just not an option. Grandmother is not able to spend too much time away from home.
So, for this Thanksgiving, we will be traveling to Lodi, and enjoying dinner with her grandmother at her assisted-living center. The meal promises to be just fine, I'm certain, and this way Alene and her daughter can keep their tradition of getting together with their grandmother and Alene's father, who will be joining us as well. Afterward, I have to work, so Alene and her daughter will enjoy Thanksgiving evening at home.
Naturally, this also leaves me without seeing my own girls, who will be at their mom's. So... what do to?
Why, have 2 Thanksgivings, that's what!
Friday, Alene and her daughter will get up early, hit the Black Friday store sales (yes, them, not me!), then we'll get to cooking for a wonderful Friday Thanksgiving meal. My daughters will come (hopefully, work not withstanding), along with a few family and church friends who don't work on Friday. Thanksgiving part 2 will be a splendid meal and another fine day spent with loved ones.
A new tradition will start I'm sure it will change in the coming years as life settles into it's groove, and new things become the norm. But most of all, we'll be including those we love into everything we can as a new family unit forms, hopefully to the blessing of the old family unit.
Spending time with loved ones and giving thanks to God is what Thanksgiving is about, isn't it?