My typical Thanksgiving is fairly chaotic. How in the world can a chaotic day be inspired by the military? Let me explain.
Both my parents are Air Force Veterans. My mom still reminds us that she earned a Marksmanship Ribbon; a feat I fell short of by one measly shot at field training. Grrrr!
From their combined experiences in the military, one would think that our holidays would be more disciplined. That could not be farther from the truth! Every year, our Thanksgiving is different, but one tradition remains the same. This tradition started the year my parent's were married.
In my mother's words,
"We married in September 1979 while still in tech school. We were the only ones in our class (a 9 month training class) who had an apartment and kitchen. We invited all of our classmates and friends to join us for our first Thanksgiving. It was quite a potluck of food and friends."
What started out as a necessity for my parents became our family's standard practice of inclusion. By separating all of those young adults in 1979 (and every year before and after), the military inspired my parents to turn their local friends into family.
From 1979 on, my parents would gather friends who were too far from home to be with their family for the holiday. Growing up, I thought everyone did this. It was not something we talked about. It just happened every year. Our parents’ friends’ became “Uncles” and “Aunts,” and our local family continually grew.