My family in the US is small. It started out as just my father, my mother, my sister and I. (When grandpa was still alive, he and his second wife were here as well.) When I married my husband it grew a bit more. Upon having our three girls we grew a lot, and when my sister had her two plus her step-son… well we hit paydirt! The holidays were huge and noisy with lots of kids running around. But times changed and my sister bought a summer home. And what a summer home it is! Then she and her husband decided that they would spend all their holidays at the beach house… and we were invited. “It will be like the Kennedy compound,” she said. But the Kennedys we are not.
The offer was gracious but reality set in. How do you keep your parents and inlaws happy when you can’t be in two places at once? How do you incorporate your Puerto Rican/Spanish/Greek heritage in your meal, when you are not the one doing the cooking? How do I stop feeling guilty that I won’t be at my sister’s house for Thanksgiving?
At first I was peeved. Then I was just sad at the realization that there wouldn’t be a multicultural hoarde of children running around my raised ranch anymore. It was hard to ignore the tension and focus on the positive, but the words of a friend helped me a lot. My friend counseled me and told me that in reality what I had wanted all along was to make everyone happy. If that meant not being able to see them on Thanksgiving but reassuring them that all was well nonetheless, so be it. So I ignored some of the more painful guilt trips and went ahead with Thanksgiving at home - and we had a really wonderful day!
And Thanksgiving morning I decided that I would visit my sister at the beach the day after Thanksgiving. And so we did, and maybe just maybe a new tradition was born.