I'm very grateful to live where I do and spend time with my family this Thanksgiving! Last year and the year prior I wasn't able to be with my family, yet it's phenomenal how people come together and bond over holidays, no matter their circumstances. I still feel gratitude for the void I didn't feel the last two years.
I have a wife of 6 1/2 years. Her name is Ro and she is my soul-mate, (for those who are perplexed, 'wife' is my term for my best friend from college. I only feel the need to clarify because my cheer moms question my sexuality. Who doesn't have a husband by age 24 in Tulsa, OK?) No matter how far apart we are I know that we are always connected. I would - and have - moved across the country for her. Last year I spent Thanksgiving with Ro and my in-laws at the most Martha Stuart-esk meal I've ever attended. There were perfectly cut turkeys on the cherry pie instead of lattice, apple butter pumpkin pie, perfectly prepared turkey and sides and immaculately displayed everything coupled with excellent wine. Her family took me in and conversed with me as if I were their own, including the eccentric grandma, (I didn't even have to miss my own!)
Two years ago I spent Thanksgiving in a country that doesn't celebrate the holiday. There were no Pilgrims in China who feasted with the Natives. At least, not in this sense. I made pumpkin pie for my favorite class - an incredibly intelligent group of 5th grade students (we had just learned a rhyme that incorporated pumpkins and pie and they had never heard of the food). All of my students brought little bags to take home tiny pieces for their parents to try.
Cherry was not impressed. Pumpkin spice was quite foreign to her. My mother had mailed me many of the ingredients I would need to prepare this.
Most of my friends in Harbin, China were not from countries that celebrated Thanksgiving, yet three of my Australian friends shut down their bar for a day and hosted a feast that fed 25 people complete with turkey, (I've yet to figure out how they acquired a turkey), mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing and yams. In true Australian fashion it quickly became a party with ridiculous antics.
What I gather from all of this: as long as you have love you have all the makings of an exquisite holiday - and I'm blessed to never have to go without love.