They say that family is important to have, that family will never let you down, no matter what you do, no matter how bad things are, that your family will always stand beside you. What if your family just aren't there?
I had to work later than usual, but the plans were the same as always, they never have changed, but for some reason, this Thanksgiving was different. It was not the same plans for my family, they didn't even think about telling me and my kids before we hurry to leave the city and hit the long drive to the family's place.
My parents always have had Thanksgiving dinner at their home, since I could remember there was dinner at home. We ended up driving to Two Hills one evening only to find that the house was locked up and nobody home. My two kids were starving, I wouldn't let them eat at home, I made them wait for this amazing dinner that usually took place at home, the smell of turkey and the homemade stuffing, the spices, the baking on the table, the garlic brewing in everything, and loads of cream in everything. My parents are Ukrainian and they can cook these fabulous meals that have tons of garlic and tons of cream in it, let's not forget about the lard or butter too.
Home was home, and nobody should have to make plans to join the family for dinner, you just finish up at work and school, and wash up once you get home, then you dress nice nicely, and head over to families for the amazing turkey dinner. Am I right? Sure I am, but what this night brought was tummies growling, kids grouchy, and no family at all to have dinner with. They all decided to go to my sisters' place in St. Albert which is right in the same area as Edmonton, just off about 20 minutes in the northeast direction.
I left the city to head out into the country almost an hour and a half away to eat dinner, they didn't call us, they didn't even think to write a note and paste it to the door just in case, they just locked everything up, all lights were off and nobody around.
I was so upset, I wanted to cry. I wanted to scream, which I did, outside in the yard, not by my kids, they were angry at me for driving out there to Two Hills and making them wait to eat. The bad thing about Two Hills too? Is that the little country town closes down by 6 PM. Plus it being Thanksgiving, they closed even earlier. We couldn't even hit a drive-through for burgers or something. I couldn't handle the pressure that overwhelmed me at that exact moment, maybe rage, maybe resent, I don't know how I felt, and the worst part of this? I knew where they all went too, but the issue there, my sister and I don't see eye to eye on anything, I'm the black sheep in the family, I smoke weed, I have a beer or two after work, or with friends on the weekend, I smoke cigarettes, I have a criminal record, I live on the edge of life, I have tattoos, me, me, me, me, me! I'm just the outcast, and when I finished throwing my attitude around in the yard, I went back to the vehicle and told my kids that I was so sorry for the whole misunderstanding, and I'll make it up to them when we get back home to Edmonton.
My kids knew I was hurt and upset, so they just sat quietly in the back seat and didn't say a word. Then my daughter smiles at me and says, "Mom! I have a friend who would love to have us over for turkey dinner.?" I was backing up from the driveway, and I gave her a smirk and asked her who that it could be? She giggles and says, "It's Josh and his family." I stepped on my brakes and looked at my daughter with surprise, then I ask her, "they won't know we're here, how can we just go there and invite ourselves?" My daughter giggles again, and says, "Mom, Josh knows that we are going to be here, we talk every day on Facebook." I hesitate and continue to back out of my parent's driveway. I start driving and tell my daughter that we need to go to Vinny's Confectionary, I needed some, and drive home pop, and probably some kind of munchies for the trip back home. My daughter smiles and tells me, "I can see what they say, mom?" I turn around and ask her how she plans to do this, and she says to me, "they're parked next to us, just look, mom." I turn and look out my passenger window and sure enough, they were at Vinny's too, it was a surprise, and a blessing too. The only thing was I didn't want to embarrass myself and invite our selves for dinner at their place, but my daughter knowing me too well gets out of our vehicle and knocks on the window of their vehicle, waving at her old friend Josh. He gets out of their vehicle and they giggle and laugh, give each other a hug, and suddenly my daughter was knocking on my passenger window, jumping up and down, excited about something. She didn't even have to ask, they opened their home to us immediately, like they knew we were alone on this holiday for families to be together. I roll the window down and my daughter yells at me, "Mom! we're going for dinner, so don't be sad or upset anymore, it's going to be better than having dinner at Baba and Gidos'" I was still a little embarrassed about having dinner with them unexpectedly but in a way this was a blessing from God, my kids didn't have to be hungry anymore, my tummy was full, we had some drinks and a lot of laughs, we sang, played games, and my kids had a blast with their friend Josh. I was so taken by their hospitality and I had nothing to offer them in return, but I did ask if my daughter and I can do up the dishes? There was no hesitation there, it was my pleasure These people were more welcoming to me and kids than my own family that one cold day when family should be together for the holidays but my family decided that it wasn't a priority to include the rest of us. I was hurt, and I was so mad at them all, but this one family who really weren't expecting three extra mouths, opened their door and their hearts to us. I was so upset, but after spending turkey day with them and not my family, that meant more to me than staying angry at my family. I realized that family wasn't just by blood, these people made me and my kids feel like family, more welcoming and more at home than being at home with my actual family.
I will always hold that one turkey day close to my heart and in my thoughts all the time, I had to grow up and realize that family can be with anyone that shows you they care about you and to welcome you into their home with their loved ones and just show you that your as important as anyone of their family members.
To those people out there who think they're alone, your not alone. Family comes in all kinds of packages even if that package is wrapped differently. appreciate everyone that appreciates you in return.