This year will be my third time to join for Thanksgiving and I think I'm finally acclimated to the whole ritual. When JG and I were engaged, I was the first non-blood-related person to invade the festivities, and I was nervous as all get out. In addition to meeting all of the aunts, uncles, and cousins, I knew that Thanksgiving was (and is) one of JG's favorite holidays, and I was terrified that I was going to make it less fun somehow. To prepare, JG quizzed me on all of the cousins' names and gave me the rundown of the traditional events I would encounter:
- The night before Thanksgiving: dinner out with JG's grandmother
- Thanksgiving Day: watching the parade in the morning, eating The Meal in mid-afternoon, and leftovers for dinner in the evening - with watching football and playing games throughout the day
- Black Friday: shopping for the girls while the guys play golf or watch more football
Needless to say, I survived. Initially, I was taken aback by the sheer energy exuded by the cousins as a collective, but after they jabbed me good-naturedly, I held my own. I even won a few games and earned some street cred with this insanely competitive bunch. The food was great and shopping was lots of fun with a whole band of savvy sale-shoppers. And the "what I'm thankful for" circle? It's interesting that I vividly remember being so freaked out about it, but I can't recall what I said as I stood there shaking. I'm sure that I stuttered as the words tumbled out of my mouth. Apparently, it was good enough, because no one mocks me about it now.
I'm glad that I don't have to study for Thanksgiving anymore; one of the younger cousins assured me at the beach, "You're in." Well! How about that! I still need to figure out what I'm going to say in that circle, though. I think I'm most thankful for the real family feeling I have now when I'm around JG's relatives. I'm not sure if that's too sappy... I'll have to double check on that...
Anyway, here's to good food, fun times, and great bargains on Black Friday! Happy Thanksgiving!