Last year, this mantra showed up during my cousin Ilana’s wedding weekend. That weekend happened to fall on the same weekend that Northwestern football and volleyball played at Nebraska, and everyone was instead in Milwaukee. For the Lincolnites (and me), this was quite painful, but I was constantly reminded during the weekend (aloud and in text form and in my heart), Family Over Everything.
Today is Thanksgiving in the United States. Indeed, it is one of my favorite days of the year! It is a low-key day where most places are closed (and I would not choose to do business on this day anyway). Some people may watch an NFL game usually involving Detroit, some may watch college basketball tournaments, and some may just lounge around a house.
I’m not sure that I always fully appreciated the day. It has been a lazy day for me on most years, and prior to me moving to Chicago, was frequently at Gramma Lea and Papa’s house, at least when I lived in Lincoln. My extended family in Nebraska (on my Mom’s side) would always be there, and it would be a simple day of relaxing, chatting with each other, playing games, and being in good company.
Once I moved to Evanston and got to spend Thanksgiving with my Milwaukee family-component each year, the day became much more meaningful. Though I have regular digital contact with my parents, and semi-regular digital contact with my siblings, I don’t get to see them in person on any sort of a regular basis when living in Evanston. Nothing replaces the actual presence of family members, and this is why Thanksgiving is so important to me–it is a virtually-guaranteed chance to be in the presence of family members.
Yesterday, I was pointed to an interesting blog post about why Thanksgiving tends to celebrate Jewish values. This includes thankfulness for the fall’s harvest (almost as if the day were סוכות שני [the second celebration of Sukkot–the Feast of Tabernacles]), and a family homecoming.
I am definitely a family man, and therefore, any opportunity to be around them I will take. They constitute your most stable network (hopefully).
I must say that I am perplexed by families that are too splintered to enjoy this holiday. I guess it gives me reason to give thanks for a closely-knit, relatively drama-free family!
Next year, however, I have no idea where I will be at this time. Hopefully, however, I will be able to travel near family wherever I am!
Today is the three-hundred and thirty-first day of M.M.X.I.V. That makes forty-seven weeks and two days.