Someone said that 'Traditions are made to be made'. In other words, don't just stick with the way it has always been done for the sake of it, adapt and change with what is going on around you. That is something we have tried to do, and this year we really needed to embrace it head on! My wife's parents are not well - her father has end-stage leukemia (has for >2 years now!) and her mother might have lung cancer, anyway they are no longer traveling - and since she and her sister don't talk, and her sister claims every possible holiday as her familily's to visit, we don't see them at holidays.
With my family it has been a different thing - we have been growing apart, and for a while I thought that both they and I were changing, but upon reflection this year, I can see that much of what is going on is just the way things have always been. The difference is that I will no longer 'put up and shut up' and do things to appease them - especially when I see them treating my kids like items on a checklist. My motto for years now has been - mess with me, fine, mess with my kids and watch out! So we have completed the fall checklist and my parents once again got in as many checklist items in one day as possible - which meant celebrating his birthday a month late (I was proud - he firmly said "do *not* sing, it is *not* my birthday). There was no mention of what they were doing for Thanksgiving.
Last year we had invited some friends over with their twin girls who are a few months younger than our older son. It was a great time, and we had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend.
So this year we knew we would be just the four of us, and decided amongst ourselves how to make it fun. So what did we decide?
Pretty ambitious list, I know ... but very do-able. And we did it all - and more. We had a great week leading up to Thanksgiving - it really started when I took a half-day on Tuesday and we had the kids' 'Parent-Teacher Conferences', and ended when reality struck again Monday morning.
After going through the weekend, I look back on a great deal more that I'm thankful for:
This was a very thankful year for my wife and I - and we got to focus on the greatest things we have, each other and our kids.