I don't celebrate Thanksgiving.
While I do question the basic premise and traditions of the holiday, I'm not morally or politically opposed to it in any way. I like to eat - turkey that's not dry, mashed potatoes without lumps, and stuffing from a box are among my favorite foods. A reason to spend time with the people you love and/or are related to is good. I always appreciate a day off work, especially one so dedicated to laziness.
I used to celebrate Thanksgiving. Growing up, I watched Charlie Brown and the Macy's parade on TV while working on my entry for the Star Tribune's "Oh, You Turkey!" coloring contest. I was dragged to awkward family meals where I learned that 2 minutes in football time translates to hours of boredom. I've created innumerable hand-shaped turkeys and even a few construction paper cornucopias.
I celebrated Thanksgiving in 2008. I almost didn't - I'd reluctantly agreed to go with my dad to meet my grandparents for a casino buffet. When the day came, though, I slept in and didn't answer his calls. I expected the familiar voice mail message - "Amy...it's Dad. Why don't you ever answer your phone?" - but instead he showed up at my house. In less than 5 minutes, I was dressed and we were on the road.
I remember the drive in a dream-like way...I remember appreciating the way he and I could be together without having to talk...I remember writing in my journal at the casino bar watching my dad gamble...I remember him saying that he actually felt GOOD...I remember telling my grandparents not to worry about him...I remember sleeping on our drive home...
Mostly, I remember thinking that my dad was going to be ok.
I'm eternally thankful for that day and those memories.
I look forward to making new Thanksgiving memories someday. I know I can do that without forgetting my dad or degrading my memories of him - and I know it's what he'd want.
But, for now...I don't celebrate Thanksgiving.