“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy. They are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” – Marcel Proust
Today I was looking through photos from last year’s Thanksgiving celebration at my house. We sure had a houseful of family over and I couldn’t have been more pleased. I remember having the head count finalized (or so I thought) several days before Thanksgiving and every day Eddie would tell me two more people were coming. I think he thought I was getting irritated but I was secretly delighted. I love a full house during the holidays, especially Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving has always been that holiday for me that was most special. I mean, what could be better than tons of food, pie, wine and family and friends hanging out all afternoon? It’s a carryover from my mother and how she would prepare for Thanksgiving each year when I was growing up. Back when we lived in Chicago, it would be our immediate family, my grandparents (mom’s parents) and then mom would invite several of her friends over so they would have family to be with. The joke was that if mom heard of someone on the street corner that didn’t have a place to eat turkey, she would invite them over! Once my parents moved to Alabama, this became the gathering place and then when Eddie and I built our house in Hoover, our home became the place we would celebrate. It was the one time every year when my parents and my sisters with their husbands and kids were all together. As our families grew and the kids grew up, it was more difficult to get everyone together here in Alabama and my sisters began having their own family celebrations in their home states. Times change and we have to change with them…
When I think about our Zuniga-Odom Thanksgiving last year, I can see changes coming once again. My brother-in-law, Terry has permanently moved to Orange Beach this year. Just recently, his daughter Kate, along with hubby David and their son, Cooper have moved near Terry. And even more recently, daughter TJ and hubby Matt are planning a move to Pensacola. Taking the annual “cousin” picture is getting a little more difficult. I know we will all get together for holidays in the future but it will take a little more planning!
Thinking back to last year…it was just so perfect. The weather was beautiful and we all enjoyed being outside. We spread out around four rooms in the house and the adult kids ended up around the table on the deck and had a great time. I even tried out two new recipes on the family, which is something that I don’t typically tackle! My cranberry sauce and corn souffle were well received, much to my pleasure! In addition to the Odom/Harkins/O’Reilly families being present, I was so happy to have my baby sister, Kanista and her husband Ken with us too. That was the icing on the cake for me personally. My favorite memory though is of my super sweet helper, great-nephew Samuel, who made it his mission to make sure every family member filled out a leaf for the Thankful Tree.
Change is inevitable and I see it happening more and more in our family. Holidays are changing too and I’m trying to be flexible! Traditions will change too but the thing that gives me hope is when I hear my children talk about wanting to maintain certain traditions that they’ve been a part of or shift them slightly to make sure they continue. This makes my heart happy.
But for a few moments today, I want to remember Thanksgiving 2019 and all the family that gathered together and what a special day that was. So thankful to have these wonderful memories…especially this year.