Taking a Step Back Our Thanksgiving
Of the holidays that are all about fun and family, Thanksgiving is at the top of the list. There’s no exterior pressure to this particular Thursday — no religious, patriotic, or commercial underpinnings. It’s just a day to get together with the people you love and eat as much as you possibly can. Honestly, life would likely be less stressful if we had more celebrations like this. On the surface, the Wilson family Thanksgiving fits the stereotypical picture of the holiday, minus one key component — the turkey isn’t the star of our feast. My mother is 100% Italian, which means that come Thanksgiving, we’re always going to have pasta, and lots of it. We still roast a bird every year, but thanks to my mom’s homemade red sauce, it was always a distant second. Now, I’ve picked up her recipe and continue the tradition. We host Thanksgiving at our house these days, meaning my sisters and mother make the drive to Elkhart from Chicago. Our kids also come home for the holiday, and we usually end up with about 20–30 people. So, naturally, I’m in the kitchen most of the day, preparing the pasta and cooking down the sauce — though I’m trying to encourage my kids to take an interest. I’d love for them to carry on their grandmother’s recipes (and for me to leave the kitchen for a bit before it’s time to eat). Another element remaining from my childhood Thanksgiving is how our whole family gets outside after the feast. We eat early, go enjoy the last of the fall weather, and then return for round two of the feast. Of course, there has been some evolution over the years. We used to go out and play
And, of course, I’m incredibly thankful for my family. With our youngest now a junior in college, we’ve been through quite a few transitions in the past 10 years — it’s wonderful and strange to see my “kids” getting jobs of their own. It seems like just yesterday they were running around in our backyard, and now they’re going to law school, becoming an accountant, and performing business analytics. Watching your kids grow up will always be bittersweet, but seeing the three of them become such smart, driven professionals makes me so proud. I couldn’t have done it without my lovely wife, Sue. We’ve been married 27 years now, and they’ve been the best years of my life. I’m grateful for her and my kids every day, but I’m glad we have a holiday set aside to acknowledge it.
football, but more recently, we’ve turned to target practice. With the woods behind our house, we can break out the shotguns and crossbows and test one another’s marksmanship. Our traditions may have changed and grown with our family, but the core experience has remained the same. It’s a day I can step back and really appreciate life. It’s easy to lose track of just how fortunate you are amid the day-to-day bustle of life. But just writing this and thinking about the coming holiday has reminded me just how much I have to be thankful for. I actually find myself casting my mind back to the recession in 2008–09. There was so much uncertainty back then; I remember the fear and anxiety that the whole economy might come crashing down. It’s easy to take the stability we’ve enjoyed in the last half-decade for granted — sometimes thinking back on yesterday’s problems helps remind us how good we have it today.
From our family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving.
-Tom Wil son
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