After a house full..today it is extraordinarily quiet. It's been almost a week of constant activity. Of grown children coming and going. Of extended family. Of food. Of fun. Of a never-ending pile-up of dirty dishes and a bottomless basket of laundry. Of chaos. Of life - full and busy.
It's been thirty years - it occurred to me - that I've been practicing this Thanksgiving ritual. The turkey..the stuffing..the potatoes. The orange vegetables..and the greens. The mashed and the roasted. The traditional pies that are always the most-looked-forward to part of the meal. The giving thanks for all that we have - in our lives..on our plates..in our hearts.
It was - at first - alien to me. I look like everyone else. I sound like them. But - I was truly a foreigner in this strange land. Sure - there was a Canadian version of this Thanksgiving..but it was nothing like what is celebrated here. In my growing-up years - it was nothing other than a long weekend in early October. A school vacation. No more than that.
Yes - it's true. I am and forever will be Canadian-at-heart. But somehow - over the years - this particular holiday has grown on me. I love that it's a one that crosses all religious..racial and socio-economic borders..that it is celebrated by each and every one. I love its universality. I've learned to embrace its true intention - of gratitude..of sharing..of family gathering around a table and all together breaking bread.
The silence - today - comes in the flavor of bittersweet. Yes - it's a relief to have things return to a sense of order and 'normal'. And yet - it's another year come and gone. Another season. Who knows what the next will be. Parents are aging. Kids are - each and every one - growing more and more into adult independant lives of their own. It will - someday - be theirs to take on. This holiday.
I find myself wondering whether I've provided enough tradition and ground for them to carry on? And - more important - will they pass it along? From their generation to the one that follows? Will they sit around a table - someday - and reminisce about their childhood Thanksgivings..and what we ate..and how we argued..and - most important that we loved?
Altho I may always deny it - I sometimes find myself just as 'American' as one who was born and raised here. It's true that I grew up north of this border. And - it's true that I was once a stranger in this land of the brave and the free . But - after thirty years of practicing this holiday and tradition..I have to say how grateful I truly am. For a country that has given me a home and a family..provided food on my table and a roof over my head.
As for today...and with my sweet pup lying quietly at my feet - I'm thankful for the quiet...the peace..the calm...the knowing that - yes - it's another year behind me.