The Haynes Family Holidays Old Traditions and New Faces
Thanksgiving is always a very special time for the Haynes family. Even though we feel plenty of sentiment for Christmas, there is just something about Thanksgiving that puts us in the right frame of mind. Thanksgiving is an opportunity to give gratitude — gratitude for family and for the many things we’ve been blessed to receive, even when they may be undeserved. Thanksgiving also gives us an opportunity to see family members who we may not see throughout the year. My father and his wife, Becky, once again hosted Thanksgiving dinner at their home. With the combined families and friends, the number of attendees is over 50. When you’re hosting 50-plus people, your meal is not just a dinner, it’s an event. This past Thanksgiving was no exception. All of their effort gives everyone an opportunity to catch up with all the kids, grandkids, parents, grandparents, and sometimes even a new dog or three, all at one gathering. It’s always a crazy time, but they once again managed to maintain perfect order in the midst of the chaos. And behind all the laughter and conversation, we were delighted to hear the sounds of my son playing several piano pieces for us in the background. He made his parents (who have no musical ability) very proud. My family allows me to sing only when I’m in my car … by myself.
This year, we had the chance to watch our foreign-exchange daughter, Viola, experience her first American Thanksgiving. Viola is a vibrant 16-year-old student hailing from Turin, a large city in northern Italy near the Swiss Alps. Viola will be a part of our family until May 2020. We have already learned so much from one another, and we are excited to continue on this journey together.
Viola was thrilled with the Thanksgiving experience. It was like watching a young child who is discovering what it means to celebrate Thanksgiving for the very first time. It made our hearts swell to introduce her to this meaningful holiday and to witness my family welcome someone new with open arms. I believe this is the true meaning behind the holidays, whether it’s Thanksgiving, Christmas, or beyond. Cherishing our loved ones, opening our lives to new experiences, and creating meaningful moments with one another are what make this season magical.
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