Thank you to my dear blogger buddy, Erin Klein for submitting this post for today’s Summer Series. Erin is a devoted teacher who works at Cranbrook and who educates other teachers daily over on her blog Kleinspiration.
I’m honored to be writing for Maria’s blog today. Her inspirational post and projects have made such a difference in my life as a teacher and a mother. I have had the pleasure of meeting her, and I can say she is truly such a gift to the field of education. Her positive spirit is infectious!
When asked to be a guest blogger, I instantly agreed. Any chance I get to connect with Maria, I take it. After contemplating the topic, my initial thought was how easy this post would be to write. After all, the post would be on my own family. This would be not only simple but also enjoyable. However, after reflecting on particular traditions we have, I began to wonder if I was actually much more non-traditional than I had originally thought.
I can honestly say that my husband, Jason, is my best friend. When our families blended together in 2005, we decided to adopt traditions that felt comfortable to the new family we were making. Though it was important to hold on to some of the memories of each of our own past, it was equally important for the two of us to start new traditions that made sense for our little family.
The first year we were married, we traveled all over during the holiday season. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, we successfully managed to see all of our family (on both sides) but also spend the majority of our time in the car traveling back and forth. It was exhausting! We loved seeing everyone but soon realized that there had to be a better way to manage this quality time. The following year, we decided to host Thanksgiving dinner at our beautiful new home. The only problem was that I didn’t cook.
As we began preparing for Thanksgiving dinner, I didn’t want Jason to get stuck with all of the kitchen associated tasks (I really don’t even know what would be involved in this process… it just seemed intense). I suggested we ordered the majority of our feast from Bob Evans. This worked out pretty well. Everyone was able to spend quality time together, and no one was separated in the kitchen working the day away. When it was time to eat, everyone gathered around the table and enjoyed a delicious meal together. The only problem was that I didn’t eat turkey.
Jason and I began talking one evening and discussed how nice it was to be able to sit with our family and enjoy a special meal together. We had only hoped that it would have been a meal that everyone equally enjoyed eating. The more we talked, the more we realized that we didn’t have to follow some traditional ritual that most families followed. We didn’t have to have turkey on Thanksgiving. The important factor was that we enjoyed each other’s company and reflected on how blessed we were.
From that moment on, we have celebrated our Thanksgiving dinners in a new way… a new family tradition that perfectly suited our growing Klein family: eating at Weber’s Restaurant in Ann Arbor, MI. This way, no one has to prepare a grand feast. We aren’t traveling across the state spending countless hours on the road. We all get to eat food we enjoy. Riley, my daughter, enjoys the Thanksgiving feast along with my husband. Jacob, my son, dives into his favorite meal – a fresh fruit plate… and I sink my teeth into a delicious, tender Filet. Yum! Most importantly, we gather around this small table and create memories that will last a lifetime with the ones we love the most in life.
This non-traditional way of celebrating such an important holiday has become a treasured and meaningful tradition to our family.