Months ago, my husband and I made plans to travel to Morro Bay for Thanksgiving, to spend it with my mother-in-law, and brother-in-law and his family. We had planned a big Easter gathering there, and well, that was obviously cancelled. So we would make up for Easter by spending Thanksgiving together, six people, socially-distanced, eating in the garden.
Yesterday, we cancelled that plan. Indeed, it seems Thanksgiving as we know it is altogether cancelled this year. And as James Hamblin says in The Atlantic it should be:
“This year is an opportunity to bond over the moral certainty of the moment. At its core, Thanksgiving is a nebulous day of atoning for the sins of colonialism by eating food and saying thank you. Now families and friends and communities can work together to achieve something meaningful and good: ending the pandemic. All you’re asked to do is eat food at home.”
Yes, I know this is the right decision. And yes, I wallowed in sadness for a moment yesterday. Why? Because I have to spend Thanksgiving in DC (a place I love), with “just” my husband (a man I love). Woe is me.
Today, on my morning run, I made the decision to shift my perspective and think of this as a magical opportunity to do Thanksgiving a completely different way. So here’s what I am planning for the holiday weekend.
Spending time helping others. Food and Friends, an organization I so admire, has amazing volunteering opportunities year-round, including meal delivery service on Thanksgiving Day. If anything can help me remember how lucky I am in my life and how much I have to be grateful for, this will do it.
Sharing a romantic Thanksgiving meal “en tete a tete.” I will make the house sparkle and will set a beautiful table. I will dress up and wear heels and lipstick. I will light candles. And we will enjoy a takeout Thanksgiving dinner. A first, yes, but it’s not any takeout…
Spending time outdoors. I have always wanted to hike Old Rag, and have officially run out of excuses to further delay this. Maybe we’ll even pack a picnic.
And I’ll still do many of the things I love to do during Thanksgiving weekend. Put out holiday decorations. Address holiday cards. Wrap gifts. Watch Christmas movies. And most importantly, I will remember how lucky I am, I will say my gratitudes, and I will call my mother-in-law.