It’s hard to believe Thanksgiving is here. Harder still is the fact that we may not get to celebrate this beloved holiday the way we usually do. This will be my first Thanksgiving not eating at my mom’s house. She and her twin sister (affectionately known as “the biddies”) typically put on a feast that takes them two weeks to prepare. 
There’s the American food: turkey, gravy, stuffing, corn, peas, carrots, parsnips, turnip, green bean casserole, rolls, and mashed potatoes (I’m sure I missed something). This is served promptly at 1:00 (unless my sister is running late which I have no problem with since it used to be me who was always late). 
We sit down at the table and my mom says grace. No one dares take a bite until we hear the closing words, “in Jesus’ precious name, amen.” Within 30 minutes the food is consumed, the table is cleared and dishes stacked in the dishwasher which will hum in the background as we prepare for … wait for it …
The Italian food: pasta (gluten free and regular), sausages (hot and mild), homemade sauce and meatballs, eggplant parmesan, ravioli or lasagna, a chopped salad and Scali bread picked up fresh at 5:30 that morning. 
Once the Italian food is savored by all, the clean up process begins again. The second meal is usually served on paper plates to make it all easier. 
Then we rest and wait a bit before laying out the homemade desserts: German chocolate cake, apple pie, squash pie, chocolate chip cookies (with and without nuts), and sometimes even a trifle. 
We’ve been eating in this tradition since I was a child and I can’t imagine having it any other way. It’s what makes our time together so special. Gathering around a table of food made with love for people we love. 
This year will be different. My husband and I are eating at home. My mom and aunt will have their feast (much smaller I’m sure) in their home. And the same for my daughter, siblings and cousin. To say I am sad to have such a precious occasion taken away by the pandemic would be an understatement of epic proportions. I could wallow in the grief that seeps into my every cell when I think of how many people are sharing a similar experience.
Instead, I choose to live in gratitude. Grateful that I got to share my story with you on how it was and how I hope it will be again soon. Grateful to have food for my table, a warm house to live in and people in my life that I care about deeply. Grateful for living a faith based life so that whenever things seem way too hard, I can ask God for help and He gives it freely. Grateful that we are all connected in big ways and small. 

This Thanksgiving I wish you all the moments of joy you so richly deserve.