Years and years ago I was studying abroad in London. I went to visit a college friend who was studying abroad in Dublin and she introduced me to the Mister.
Fast forward and we both ended up in Ireland and she imported to our circle of Irish friends the American pot luck Thanksgiving Dinner tradition.
Always held the Saturday after the American Thanksgiving holiday, the tradition has grown from a small intimate dinner of four couples to a large and boisterous affair of many people.
Every year people experiment with culinary adventures, catch up with friends who’ve moved abroad, chase after other people’s children, drink, eat, make merry, and sometimes even get engaged or meet their future fiancé(e).
Every year we are also all dutifully gathered in a circle before we’re allowed to sit down and eat and everyone takes a turn expressing something for which they’re grateful.
There is always reference to spouses, children, family, friends, support, health, steady employment, opportunities, etc. Some people are quick and to the point. Others have stories or news to share to illustrate what they’re grateful for this year. Sometimes there’s good natured heckling, because we’re all good friends.
As we all get older and more of us are married or have children, the party doesn’t run quite as late as it used to. Instead of spending the next day sleeping off a food coma one of us had to be up playing Rugby Tots with the toddler at 9am. But the essence of the evening has not changed in all the years we’ve been gathering. It is an event we all look forward to. It’s on next year’s social calendar from the minute this year’s party is over. Christmas is for family. We’ve made our imported Irish Thanksgiving about our friends.
This year, while I said my usual thanks for my son and my husband and our friends, I expressed my particular gratitude to mothers, each of whom have been supporting us in their own ways to the best of their ability.
Including allowing us a child-free evening.