Thanksgiving Weekend

It was a really fantastic weekend. It was so relaxed with a busy undercurrent, but not at all stressed. I think it was what we all needed. Kaeden didn't even leave home after his Judo lesson Friday night and in fact stayed in his pyjamas all day Saturday. So did Jari. We played games, got started on our Thanksgiving dinner preparations, and when bedtime rolled around and I told them to get ready for bed, they both laughed and told me their PJ's were already on. Erwin spent Saturday alone shopping, which was also a nice break for him. He had a list, but also time to just wander around and get his holiday shopping done without too many eyes seeing his surprises. I didn't even shower on Saturday.

Sunday was busier, but also very calm. It felt good to have a house full of guests arriving to celebrate the traditions of our American holiday and not be running ragged trying to get everything done. Jari had soccer and won the game, but came home telling me about a fight between the ref and his coach. He was amazed when the ref threw his whistle at his coach. I wish I could have been there...makes soccer exciting, even if it was stressful for my son and he told me he was worried and confused about how to play. It really shouldn't have happened at this level, but Erwin reiterated Jari's story with enthusiasm, even telling about our team delegate getting kicked off the field. And, according to Erwin and Jari, the ref was really being a PITA....calling for the other team (biased? In this case, it seems not).
Jari also had his Sinterklaas celebration at school, and we didn't go with him this year. I felt guilty about it when he arrived home telling about singing for Sint and showing me his bag of candy. But, I had to get dinner ready, the house ready...a mama can't do it all. Kaeden chose not to attend the Sint celebration and stayed home to help me get things ready. And helpful he was. More so than I could have imagined. He had a terrific weekend.

Our family began to arrive for Thanksgiving dinner and to celebrate Erwin's birthday. It was nice to have a house full of guests to bring the spirit of love to the air. We made a menu and asked everyone to write something they were thankful for about each person. Though the task got a few groans, it was fun seeing everyone sitting at the dinner table lit by candle reading what we had all written about each other. Some read their thanks immediately, while others let it sit waiting to savor it for after the meal. It was so nice to take a few minutes of life to really consider what each person means to us.

The meal was fantastic. I was really happy with the quality of the food this year. Still, the most difficult part is getting everything served warm all at once. But, we had a delicious meal with many choices and few leftovers...just enough for one more nice meal this evening. I love doing up the whole shebang. Making it really feel like how I would celebrate at home. The Dutchies in my life think I am nuts, but even as they say it, I *think* they enjoy it as well. I have found that over the years they are much more open to trying new things, and have even loaded plates full and gone back for seconds and even thirds. They love the effort of the holiday and it makes it all worthwhile to me.

After Kaeden said grace, which he asked to do this year and did so beautifully, opa read a poem he had written for the ocassion, and what has become somewhat of a tradition and one i love. His words always hit me to the core, knowing though I may not be with my American family, I am still surrounded by love and support. His poem is beautiful in Dutch, but the words in English are just as meaningful:

Thanksgiving 2009

The years are threaded together to bring us to this day
Where we come together to give thanks
That we have food and drinks with a smile and a tear
And a safe and warm place where we can rest
Together at the table we forget our worries
Because who knows what the future may bring
Live for this day and think about tomorrow
Forget the cares that you heard or saw

As a family, happy to still enjoy each other
Young and old together at this table
Wherever we are in this world, here or in the States
Cherish your family, for you have only one.
Happy Thanksgiving.

And that my friends, sums it up beautifully.


Lisa said...

I'm so glad you had a nice Thanksgiving :) I'd love to be able to read the dutch version of the poem if you don't mind!

Jade said...

:-) I love it! Look how handsome K looks! He's growing into a young man! Your table looked beautiful, and your family looked happy. What more could you ask for? :-)

Tanya @ TeenAutism said...

It sounds like a lovely holiday for you, Tera. And what a wonderful picture of the four of you!

V-Grrrl said...

Oh that's lovely. I think it's wonderful that your inlaws join you for this American holiday and add their own traditions.