November 9, 2016
A Thanksgiving Story
I want to share a Thanksgiving story. This Thanksgiving story is about divorce, holidays, putting kids first, and families.
It was his second Thanksgiving as a divorced father and James, not his real name, was excited about spending the holiday with his young children. He had been lonely the year before, when Thanksgiving was “his former wife’s holiday”.
James and the children were grocery shopping together the weekend before Thanksgiving for the turkey, fixings for the side dishes and an apple pie. Up and down the aisles they went, laughing harder and harder with each story the children shared about the prior year’s Thanksgiving. Celebrating the holiday with their mom at grandma’s house along with their seven first cousins and an assortment of aunts and uncles, the children clearly had had a ball.
That’s when it struck James. Just because the divorce judgment gave him alternating Thanksgivings didn’t mean he had to take the children on Thanksgiving. And, as he thought more about it, was Thanksgiving really limited to one day a year – the fourth Thursday in November? Why couldn’t Thanksgiving also be on a Friday?
While it was unrealistic to think his former wife’s large family could all convene on the day after Thanksgiving, for James and his mom, Friday was as convenient as Thursday.
At that moment, a new tradition had started. The children would have two days each November to visit with family, express appreciation, eat turkey, and feel love.
But little did James realize at that moment that he’d soon also have two days each November to visit with family, express appreciation, eat turkey, and feel love.
On Thanksgiving Day, the second year after being divorced and without his kids, James began a new tradition and met a new family. The tradition was spending Thanksgiving Day at the First Congregational Church cooking, washing dishes, delivering meals, putting together boxes, serving guests and doing anything else that was asked of James to make the Community Dinner a success. The new family was the group of volunteers who worked along side James at the Church cooking, washing dishes, delivering meals, putting together boxes, serving guests and doing anything else that was asked of them to make the Community Dinner a success.
Twenty years have passed. James still spends Thanksgiving Day at the Church with his Community Dinner family, expressing appreciation, eating turkey and feeling love. James still spends Friday at home with his wife, some assortment of his kids, sons and daughters in law and grandchildren, expressing appreciation, eating turkey and feeling love.
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