Thanksgiving Gatherings

Thanksgiving has a special meaning in our home now that our three grown children are away at college.  As a parent, it is so fun to anticipate the arrival of each of our kids coming home on the first major holiday after heading off to their respective universities.  With the price of airline tickets at a premium over the Thanksgiving weekend (why do the airlines have to do that?), we searched for flights with inconvenient times and “red-eye” schedules just to keep costs under control.

My freshman student could not wait to come back home.  My senior student, however, was invited to spend the weekend with a friend’s family in New England. So this year, I did the unthinkable…I flew only one of them home.  Once the decision was made, I instantly had a pit in my stomach. I started looking again for cheap flights, even after my daughter had purchased her train ticket to travel with her friend to Connecticut!  

Eventually, I settled down and realized that this year, although different, our family had so very much to be thankful for.  My senior daughter was able to share special moments with a family who graciously opened their home and traditions to her. And my freshman daughter was at our home, along with others in our life who were not able to travel to their hometowns, sharing our own family traditions on Thanksgiving.  It felt a but like a giant kid swap, but it was all fine.  In fact, it was more than fine.  It reminded me that as parents, we are fortunate to have the opportunity to open our homes and our hearts to our “children”, whether they are our own kids or someone else’s kids, and we get to provide a place to gather and laugh and love and enjoy each other’s company.

So, from hometowns to college towns and beyond, I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Jill Cook

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