For many holidays mean a break from work or school, a vacation away from the boring or stressful routine, a time to receive or give gifts,… For me holidays are about getting together with the family.
When I was growing up, my grandmother always gathered us for scrumptious dinners. My mother kept the tradition. Christmas was spent at my parents’ in Boston, Thanksgiving at my aunt’s in New York. We didn’t mind driving for sixteen hours and braving the snow and cold. We knew it would be worth it. We knew that we would be greeted with open arms and delicious treats, but most of all we looked forward to meeting the siblings, cousins, nephews and relatives we haven’t seen for months or years.
My parents’ ranch and my aunt’s split-level house were relatively small and hardly built to accommodate forty people and a dozen kids. But no one complained about lack of space. The children invaded the basement and managed to play their games around or in between the clutter of old furniture, luggage and storage units. The men prepared the drinks and lingered around the bar while most of the women squeezed into the kitchen to help with the last minute preparations. And then a fabulous dinner gathered us all in the dining room and living room.
Happy times are precious but don’t last forever. My father left us and then my aunt and uncle. We stopped traveling to New York and Boston. I took over the Christmas and Thanksgiving gatherings. By then the kids have turned into young adults who often brought their girlfriends or boyfriends. In addition to holidays, we met at weddings and showers. Soon the young families couldn’t afford to travel and my guest list dwindled over the years.
Two years ago, I was happily surprised to see my daughter and her cousins deciding they wanted their children to meet and enjoy the togetherness that has blessed their younger years. The decisions and planning are now handled over text messages. Rather than one generous mother standing in the kitchen for hours and dong all the cooking and baking on her own, the young moms–all career women– share the tasks, and often leave the kitchen to their men.
My mother is no longer with us and the few uncles and aunts left can no longer come. We have become part of the older generation, but the new reunions reflect the same laughter, noise and joy of yonder years, with the parents determined to instill a strong sense of family and bonding within their young families.
This Thanksgiving has been marked by sadness as we mourned the loss of our dear Pepper Phillips, one of the Authors of Main Street. We remember her thrive and support, her positive attitude and courage, and we cherish the memories.
But life goes on and traditions remain.
Single mother Monica Roland has her life on the right track. Until Michael kisses her.
Michael Wheeler is a workaholic businessman who travels the world and enjoys his freedom. Fed up with empty promises, Monica pledges to keep her twin boys’ care and her own studies above all else. Moving on with her life, she lands a dream assignment in Paris. Just when Michael decides to give up his wanderings and settle in Kentucky.
How can he convince her that a demanding career doesn’t preclude love?