I met Mr. M in January 2001. We were engaged by August. It took us until May 2003 to be married, but we pretty much were acting married by the time we spent our first Thanksgiving as an engaged couple.
Meaning, with one exception, I believe we have spent every single Thanksgiving and Christmas with Mr. M's family. My parents have joined a few, but they were joining Mr. Ms family. The last Christmas before we married, I did spend with my parents, and we realized we really didn't like spending holidays apart... So we haven't.
With Mr. M's work schedule, that has left us pretty much stuck at home. Since my family is all in Michigan, and now Florida for my Snow Birds, they lost out on seeing us and we them.
Since having Jacob, this dynamic has bothered me a lot. I know my in laws adore Jacob & love having him at their holidays, but that prevents J from learning my traditions. Having a sausage stuffed turkey at Thanksgiving, or ham at Christmas. Matt's mom is a great cook, but that doesn't mean my side isn't. Sometimes that is a hard concept for Mr. M, who thinks the only right meal on Christmas is Italian, and to me - that is an every day meal & takes away from the specialness of the Holiday. Then again, I grew up eating spectacular appetizers all day, so the ham was an after thought to be enjoyed for days after Christmas. Bacon wrapped water chestnuts, cheese balls, home-made toffee and fudge, poppers and potato skins for the shell fish allergic member of the house, lobster tail & crab dip for the not allergic... We would have smoked fish - smoked in our smoker in the garage. We would have a fire roaring and laughter would fill the air.
Due to how spread out my family is, the possibility of J ever experiencing what I did in my family is pretty slim, which is why I have been pretty lax about it not pushing the envelope.
Plus, let's be honest - if Mr. M said 'Sorry about your luck, but I have a week off - so I'm taking J & heading to the beach for a week over a major holiday' I would probably lose my mind.
This all said, when I was talking my mother-in-law this summer about future holidays with her future in-laws, it allowed me to express some of the discontent I was feeling. She understood, and in a sense gave me her blessing.
Then this past summer, my mom had some health scares - and it really crystallized things for me.
Thankfully Matt understood. He gave me his blessing for driving to Florida to spend Thanksgiving with my parents.
It was funny, my parents and his parents had a huge issue with the fact I wanted to drive - but everyone was very supportive of WHY I wanted to be in Marco.
In fact, I do believe this will become our bi-annual trip. I might look at having Dec 26th be our off year trip, but we are not there yet. :)
This year J and I spent Thanksgiving enjoying turkey (an entire turkey leg for the growing boy), sausage stuffing (not J), pineapple from the farmer's market, and squash transported from a neighbor's farm in Michigan. It was just the 4 of us, as my brother spends every holiday with his own in-laws.
These were not the traditions of my past, but mixing pieces of my past with setting new traditions for our future was exactly what I wanted and needed this holiday season.
Tomorrow - I'll post pictures...