As a young girl, I couldn't wait for this holiday, much to my mom's dismay. She was and still is an incredible cook, when it comes to fragrant Korean meals that were our daily sustenance. But Americanized meals? The lack of hot spices puzzled her, and her attempts at cooking American were dismal at best. So when she took up the gauntlet every Thanksgiving to cook a traditional feast, you know that's pure love brewing up magic. Especially since her birthday falls on Thanksgiving every few years. When I learned how to cook (thanks to those Home Ec classes in high school all the girls were forced to take), I was able to create my own Thankgiving/Birthday meals and give my mom an opportunity to be relax and enjoy her special day.
After I graduated from college and moved to Boston, I had my first couple Thanksgivings with my best friend's German family. Talk about a Thanksgiving smorgasbord of American and German influences. And then it made me realize that my mother's Thanksgiving meals were a celebration of everything American and Korean and it was dog gone wonderful.
Afterwards, I spent a few Thanksgivings at another college friend's home, and had my first taste of what I imagined a true traditional Thanksgiving was all about. Martha Stewart could be cloned from my friend's mother or vice versa. Talk about a multitude of dishes and desserts that were made ahead of time. Handmade decorations, incredible flower arrangements, little presents wrapped at every place setting. A total gluttonous feast for all the senses.
Then I met the man who would later become my husband, and our Thanksgivings have always been together.
It wasn't until four years ago that Thanksgiving held a different meaning for me. My nephew Michael, was killed in a freak shooting accident, November 19th, a few days before he was to visit all the family in Boston. My youngest was two months old at the time, and in the last conversation we ever had, Michael told me he couldn't wait to meet his new cousin. My other two children were so excited for Michael's visit, especially my eldest. She loved her cousin dearly.
And then we got The Call. The call no one ever wants where you feel like your very breath has been punched right out of you and you're free falling into nothingness. That Thanksgiving was so painful, so filled with What If's. It was a very difficult time to be grateful for anything, when we felt we were robbed of all the possibility and hope of Michael's young life.
Michael was one of the brave who served in the Marines, was sent overseas, and saw too much despair and horror. He was one of the hopeful, who was finally home and ready to start a new life. He was one of the considerate who would help a family member or friend in need. He was one of the honorable, who believed in the power of his word.
A year later, we were to mourn the loss of my mother-in-law, who at the age of 87 was still loving life but missed her first grandchild even more. I loved her dearly but never could say it out loud to her, and for that I have much regret.
Life does go on, and while I do have so much to be grateful for this Thanksgiving, I still find myself at a loss. So while I take a few days off, and focus on revising my manuscript in honor of Michael, I offer you A Thanksgiving Meal Menu of Conversation Starters, in celebration of some of the bloggers who have some wonderful words to share:
A Thanksgiving Meal Menu of Conversation StartersAppetizers
A Special Thanksgiving Tradition
Some Thanksgiving Poetry
Robert's Snow Auction
The Cycle of Life
Warriors in the Battle of Should, Part I and Part II
Living with Food Allergies
Give the World, Gift a Book: Downloadable Bookmarks
Growing Bookworms Newletter
Poetry Stretch Results--Poems of Apology
November Carnival of Children's Literature and Tips
An incredible crown of glory
A surprise engagement
Children's Books That Never Were
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!