Thanksgiving is a holiday most people around the U.S. celebrate. In 1621, the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag NativeAmericans shared a harvest fest which is now what we know as Thanksgiving. Every November on the last Thursday of the month, families come together to give thanks and share appreciation for all the goodness in life. For me and my family, Thanksgiving is a time of love and celebration. It’s a time to realize that we’re never alone, no matter the circumstances.
For many years, we have traveled to Dallas, Texas and visited my extended family on their ranch. We shoot clay pigeons on their shooting range, make a bonfire, feed the horses and decorate pumpkins. All of my aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents on my father’s side all gather together to feast. We laugh, reminisce, talk and appreciate each other’s company. It’s a special time of year to catch up. Sometimes we celebrate Thanksgiving at home, and invite members of our extended family on both of my parent’s sides to join us. It doesn’t matter who celebrates with us, they will always have a seat at the Garberding home.
Thanksgiving means more to me and my family for a number of reasons.
My family and I moved to Italy for a couple years. This was a big transition from living in Grosse Pointe, and to this day I’m very thankful for it. We were living overseas learning a new language and culture. Thanksgiving was a time when we would get to travel back home to the U.S. and reconnect with family we rarely saw. It was hard to feel connected to them being more than 4,000 miles away, so holidays like Thanksgiving allowed us to take a breath of fresh air. My international school also hosted a huge Thanksgiving dinner with the school that every student and their families were allowed to participate in. We had participated a few times when we stayed home and it was a memorable experience that helped my family feel more connected towards the Italian students while experiencing our culture.
Thanksgiving is centered around the huge feast filled with food and dishes like turkey and stuffing. One big part of the celebration is cooking and prepping for dinner. My parents, aunts and uncles are fortunately great cooks. Obviously, the kids also had to participate in helping cook thanksgiving meals such as the mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce. This is one of the best feelings on Thanksgiving when everyone is getting along and working together. At times things may get quite hectic or chaotic when the turkey isn’t ready in time, but in the end it doesn’t matter. The whole point of Thanksgiving is enjoying each other’s company, thankful for each other.
After long hours of cooking delicious dishes, we finally get to eat. The cousins set the table with name cards at each plate. Before we eat, we go around the table and name one thing each of us are thankful for. Hearing each reason has a deep meaning for us. It connects us and brings us closer together. Thanksgiving is a time for love and appreciation that I will cherish forever and reminisce on my favorite thanksgivings.