I am a holiday junkie. There I said it. I love this time of year and everything about it. The decorations, music, food, all of it. Thanksgiving is one of my favorites as I have always loved having family around, everyone helping in the kitchen, all the food smelling up the house. While football is being played in the front yard, the Macy’s Day Parade is on the television, and your home is full of people you love, filled with the sounds and smells of the holiday. This will be how I remember it always.
Growing up we did the traditional Thanksgiving dinner of turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, cranberry, and pumpkin pie. Each year we added a new tradition, but as a child, we always did pretty much the same thing each year. The very first year I was away from family, stationed thousands of miles from family, I was devastated. What would I do? My husband was on patrol and I was alone in a new place. I couldn’t travel home because of work and my family couldn’t come to me. I was heartbroken. However as Thanksgiving neared I started to think, why did it have to be sad? Why couldn’t I recreate my own family Thanksgiving just for me? Even though I was alone I could still make it feel like Thanksgiving, so why not?
That Thanksgiving I did it, all alone and had a really nice day. I got a small chicken instead of a turkey, got all my favorite vegetables and the ingredients for my favorite stuffing. I even made a pie from scratch. I did it for me, just like if I were home. I watched the parade, had football on the television and decided that I would start my own tradition by breaking with tradition. Sure, I didn’t really have a choice but to break with tradition, but I was proud of myself. I had taken a tough situation and made it ok like we so often do in this life.
Some holidays we are alone, others we aren’t. We make the best of it and we continue to make our own traditions and today they are normal for us. It is what we do. One year we even decided to host an open door Thanksgiving and invited all our other military friends over for a big dinner since none of us could travel home.
Adapting to our situation will help us to survive, especially during a very stressful time of year. So many times difficult situations allow us to become who we were meant to be and sometimes we can find ourselves surrounded by family even when they are miles away, through memories, recipes, and little traditions.
Sometimes I still wish I could be at home with my family, but no matter what, I remember to be thankful for my life and everyone in it, regardless of how far away they might be.
How are you breaking tradition this year?