Thankful French Onion Soup Day
Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays. As a kid, the deliciousness of turkey, mashed potatoes and my favorite apple pie were enough to win me over. As an adult, after one really awful Thanksgiving that found me floundering through weeks of hospital tests, the last Thursday in November has been a wonderful annual reminder to be thankful for good health, physical and mental. Grateful for where I am now.
Amid the chaos of ever-fluctuating custody schedules, we’ve staked out a tiny overlap of a few days after Miss L arrives from her mom’s house and before Miss G leaves for her dad’s where all four of us are under one roof to celebrate gratitude. In the interest of not wanting to step on calendar Thanksgiving’s toes (and in honest acknowledgement that this is really only another of our made up holidays), I serve French onion soup instead of the traditional turkey. And in an effort to semi-legitimize our soup-eating, we invite our families and friends to celebrate this Thankful French Onion Soup Day with us.
To my annual surprise, they actually do.
This year, Thankful French Onion Soup day was packed full of family, friends and feeling blessed from the second I woke up next to my warm, furry husband to kicking up with the kids after everyone else had left, eating Indian takeout and laughing together at HIMYM till bedtime.
At the party, my uncle was talking about his exasperation over what he calls soft-core Christmas porn already sneaking into stores.
“Not actual Christmas music but like… Kenny G playing Christmas songs.”
“Gateway Christmas music,” I said, knowing exactly what he meant.
“Right,” he said. And he talks about how he’s always had a soft spot for Thanksgiving; we bond over our shared bitterness at the ever-encroaching Christmas season spreading wider, trampling over Thanksgiving entirely.
And then he says, “The cynic in me chalks it up to consumerism, because there’s nothing to buy at Thanksgiving. Then at church on Sunday, the message was about how the Christmas season has gotten longer in response to our increased hunger for the hope that Christmas represents. So this year I’m going to try to remind myself of that.”
Because I was hostessing a party, I did not totally burst into tears, but that profound truth twanged a very deep heartstring. Just as quickly as the resentment over too-early Christmas kicked off my month of gratitude, compassion replaced irritation. Compassion, and an immediate deflation of the superiority I didn’t realize I felt until that moment at not being one of Those People who celebrates Christmas way too early.
I mean, who am I to judge. Thanksgiving isn’t morally loftier. People love Christmas? Let them love it. Heck, I love it too. God knows there are way worse things than holiday cheering for two months instead of one.
Sometimes I think that Thanksgiving is all the more sacred for getting crowded out by Christmas. You have to elbow out space for gratitude. Thankfulness, like some fantastic thrift store find, is that much more satisfying somehow for having looked harder.
My cousin– the daughter of that insightful uncle, in fact– shared a quote with me in response to last week’s post: “The beauty of gratitude is that it turns everything into enough.”
May gratitude work that magic in your own life, at Thanksgiving and throughout the year. May hope find you. May you bask in the blessings you already have, even the little ones. Maybe especially those.