I have a confession - I dread Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Easter.
I am filled with utter, sometimes debilitating, dread at the approach of each and every holiday. It has gotten better since the Husband and I got hitched and as our family and extended family grows but, I still have a sense of dread and probably just as much sadness as a holiday approaches.
Growing up, I remember big, wonderful feasts with a big, beautifully set table using the good silver and a kid table. I remember watching the Macy's Day parade and munching on stolen black olives. There was marathon cooking and cleaning, there was homemade pies and real stuffing and just so much food. And, then just when you thought you could eat no more there was ginormous leftover sandwiches eaten while adults played cards at the kitchen table way past our bedtimes. It was such an active and hectic occasion and it was wonderful. Just wonderful.
It was a time when my uncles, aunts and cousins gathered at my Grandparents' house to celebrate, together. I was ensconced in my mother's family traditions, until my grandmother died. The dinners continued for a few years but the people eating together became fewer as the family grew apart, other traditions were started and others just moved away or died. Finally, it was just my mom, brother, uncle and me at dinner time.
I miss those family gatherings and prayed to be part of a big family again.
It makes me a little sad to think how we once gathered, as a family, to share a meal for the holidays and then it stopped. It makes me sad that because everything revolved around the one family, we never got the opportunity to really get to know the rest of the family growing up. And, I am more then a little sad when it comes to not being able to have those wonderful family gatherings to share. I know that there is more to it then not spending holidays together or why dinner attendees thinned out, but, I see the cycle being repeated.
I do have a deeper appreciation for the dinners we do host or attend. And, I do realize that I am very lucky and blessed to have such a wonderful family and to have an even more amazing extended family but I can't help wishing, sometimes, for the way things were - only now with the whole family participating.