David and I have had many Thanksgivings to reflect on with our stepfamily tribe…38 to be exact! There was always a lot of hype around Thanksgiving – one, because it was FUN and two, because it was only one month ’til Christmas!

Historically, our whole family participated in getting Tom Turkey on the dining table with all the usual side dishes. The two girls decorated the table and made individual place tags. The boys peeled and mashed potatoes. Later they washed dishes…sort of. There was always music in the background selected by the kids, of course. One of the best parts was the kitchen smell that filled the house.

Crazy as it sounds, our Thanksgiving dinners don’t change, even though our numbers have grown and there are always drop ins and newcomers along the way. At times, I’ve tried to change it, but NO GO! The kids insist on turkey and stuffing, mashed potatoes, spinach casserole, (not loved by everybody) ice cream and pie! And that’s the way it is. Total pig-out!

I think back to some of the disasters we’ve had: the year the sink stopped up beyond repair, the time the turkey hit the floor, the beige wallpaper paste-like gravy disaster, and the time one of the kids surprised me with a bunch of last minute friends from college. There’s always the incessant, “When’s dinner ready?” and the challenge of keeping hands from pulling the crispy turkey skin off before the bird gets to the platter.

After the Thanksgiving blessing, there is lively debate, laughing, eye-rolling, teasing, inside jokes and memories of how this stepfamily has written its own story. After dinner we pass out in front of the TV watching football or a movie.

We still do Thanksgiving together. It always tickles me to see how our kids have inherited the traditions that we started so long ago. Our children have all grown and have kids of their own. Our numbers have swelled to 22. We’re crammed around the dining room table and card tables. The love, traditions and stories keep us coming back year after year.

Enjoy writing your own good stories this year. Happy Thanksgiving!

Susan Wisdom MA

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