Thursday, January 16, 2014

A decade of Thanksgivings

I am sitting here watching my son sleep, thinking of my daughter away at preschool, missing my husband in Morocco. I never thought that one day I will be so separated from the people I love most. My parents, in-laws and most of my friends are in the US, my aunt is in London, and my uncle and his family are all away at work. Of all the days, today is the day I miss my “old” life most. In all the years I have been in the US, Jeff and I have almost always been together over Thanksgiving, whether we chose to celebrate it or not. This year, though, not only are we separated, we are also not celebrating.
In honor of all those November days that have passed since I got to know Thanksgiving, I collect and recollect how they have been spent. I share highlights from years past.

Thanksgiving 2003
My first Thanksgiving, my first train ride, my first trip to Seattle and the first time I meet Jeff’s parents. 2003 was a year of many firsts.  
Most memorable part: chopping onions, tomatoes, and parsley to make tabouleh for eight using a dull knife; my right arm hurt well into the following day. I discovered how sweet and savory mix in a meal and avoided cranberry sauce.

Thanksgiving 2004
My first thanksgiving as a wife, and one more family gathering before we moved out of the Northwest.
Most memorable part: taking my first trip to Vancouver, BC and putting my green card to its first international use.

Thanksgiving 2005
The year of the smoked turkey, and the first year Jeff and I were apart for Thanksgiving: he was writing a paper and I was visiting a friend in Pittsburgh.
Most memorable part: giving up my seat on the plane for a free ticket. We also had our first yearly supply of smoked turkey broth in the freezer.

Thanksgiving 2006
We flew to Seattle for the holiday.
Most memorable part: this later proved to be the last Thanksgiving we have with the entire of Jeff’s immediate family.

Thanksgiving 2007
We hosted our very first Thanksgiving. It was held at our house in Portland. We had four guests, including one vegetarian.
Most memorable part: the barbequed turkey that Jeff grilled on the side patio despite the rain.

Thanksgiving 2008
The year with no turkey. Instead, and after leaving Portland for the second time, Jeff and I used up two free hotel nights and ventured to New York for the holiday.
Most memorable part: seeing the Macy’s Day parade balloons the day before the parade.

Thanksgiving 2009
With a baby in my belly and a due date in January 2010, I cooked for six in our DC apartment. The only item that was store bought, other than the bread, was the pumpkin pie.
Most memorable part: having Jeff’s and my parents gathered at our table for the first time.

Thanksgiving 2010
The year our family grew by one. Jannah-Rae was ten months old and able to share the feast. She had sweet potatoes and turkey.
Most memorable part: having a D&C shortly before the holiday yet celebrating anyway.

Thanksgiving 2011
We headed to MN to introduce JR to the rest of the family. This has been the biggest Thanksgiving I had been to so far. I had wanted to brave the crowds on Black Friday at the Mall of America but was convinced otherwise.
Most memorable part: needing the distraction from the second miscarriage and wanting to be surrounded by family. We bought JR a Mickey Mouse shirt that she is still wearing two years later.

Thanksgiving 2012
I was on bed rest, but Thanksgiving happened anyway. We invited a close friend over and dined with her and my parents.
Most memorable part: Jeff putting together a remarkable meal.

Thanksgiving 2013
Yousef’s first Thanksgiving and our first in a foreign country or rather make two foreign countries: the kids and I were in Lebanon while Jeff was alone in Morocco. The first Thanksgiving in a decade that passes without a celebration.
Most memorable part: not telling JR it was Thanksgiving to avoid making her sad.

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