1. RELIABLE SOURCES. Per usual this Thanksgiving, I have lots to be grateful for – all thanks to the three wonderful ladies who share a house with me. My wife provides a Rock of Gibraltar-esque level of support and can always helpfully explain to me the emotions behind every interaction I have with a friend or colleague. My eldest, with her harmless teasing of her old man, always has me laughing, while she also keeps me “au courant” on all the latest fashion and pop culture trends. My youngest’s ever-calm and cool demeanor is an inspiration to me, while her brilliantly articulated explanations of how the physical world works leave me continuously fascinated. I’m not sure how I managed to get through my days before they came into my life.

2. A CARVER I AM NOT. I have no skill at what in times past might have been considered a father’s duty at Thanksgiving – carving the turkey. Since no one is interested in eating mashed turkey, I leave that task to more skilled hands in my family. And while, yes, it is with shame that I have to admit such ineptness, I must also confess that my deficiency in this regard offers some advantages. While the carving task is being performed in the kitchen, I get to watch a few more downs of football!

3. EVERYONE (ALMOST) CONTRIBUTES. Like most kids, mine get plenty of candy at Easter and Halloween and pyramids of present at Christmas. But it seems we have raised them right because their favorite holiday has always been Thanksgiving, which offers no gifts other than the opportunity to be together with their extended family. Admittedly, though, there may be additional reasons why they always eagerly anticipate that final Thursday in November – like the spectacular turkey Grandpa Paul and Grandma Sara get each year from their favorite New York butcher and then cook to perfection, or Grandma’s delectable cranberry and walnut dish, their Aunt Gigi’s perfecto roasted root vegetables, the amazing stuffing their mother prepares, and the pièce de résistance, as the most talked about items every year, the mouth-watering array of pies their Uncle Dave makes from recipes he learned from his mother. As will be no surprise to any frequent readers of Dad Flashes, whose pages often chronicle my lack of culinary skills, I have nothing to contribute to the Thanksgiving table other than my witty repartee. (And yes, given that last bit, this will be one Dad Flash I do not allow my children to preview to make sure they are comfortable with and/or agree with everything I’ve written!)

4. ADJUSTMENT MADE. My first nuclear family always had Thanksgiving dinner in the early afternoon, usually around 2 p.m. My wife’s family, though, generally schedules the feast for around six. That took some getting used to, particularly because I could no longer finish the day with what I always looked forward to the most – a turkey sandwich with mayo, stuffing and cranberry sauce, which my mother always made for me when my siblings and I were kids and which my kind sisters would prepare for me years later when we all had houses of our own. Dinner at six just doesn’t allow for that topping-off celebration. But, since I wouldn’t ever try to deal with the crowds at stores on Black Friday, I now at least have something to look forward to on the day after Thanksgiving.

5. A MILESTONE TURKEY DAY. My wife and I are fully cognizant of the fact this will be the last Thanksgiving when our eldest won’t have to come home to spend time with us because she’s already there. She is a high school senior, and right now it looks like she will be headed off to Kent State University next fall to study in their amazing fashion merchandising program. Given how far Kent, Ohio, is from us, Thanksgiving next year may mark the end of a long, two-and-a-half-month drought when we won’t get a chance to see her every day. So yes, one of the things I’ll be thankful for this year is that the now is now, and not the future. {And, you’ll have to excuse me if I get a little weepy!)

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone, and to Nana Queenie and Papa Jim, we will be seeing you very soon!

Family as turkeys, caricature illustrationThanks to my youngest’s good friend, the wonderfully artistic Jasmin, for demonstrating that my wife, kids and I really are just a bunch of lovable turkeys!

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