How I learned to be content with my dysfunctional family on Thanksgiving

[dropcap]I[/dropcap]t’s that time of year when families travel to come together and put their differences aside, the time to be thankful for all they’ve been given and have worked for, the time to catch up, or to break the daily routine of just getting by and stop to recognize there’s much to appreciate in life.

People tend to make big deals out of these days that are given with specific titles, but I’m here to tell my short story.

For the years that I’ve recognized Thanksgiving as a holiday, I haven’t celebrated it like other families. I spend every day being thankful for everything I have and appreciating the days I get to live. My family is always too busy with work, and unlike the families that put their differences aside, my family is too torn apart to appreciate what they have.

They let their egos get the best of them. This year, I’m not content with this, but I’ve learned to accept the holiday with or without my family being together.

[pullquote_right]I have learned to adapt to this holiday, because I know it’ll never be the way that I want it to be.”[/pullquote_right]

As a child I never really cared about this day, except that it was another day that I didn’t have to be in school, and it gave me more hours to play outside.

I can vaguely remember one year where my brother and I spent our Thanksgiving at our next door neighbor’s house. We had come to celebrate with her, and because we have been in her home numerous times before, I was comfortable with the familiar rooms. The many faces of her sisters and brother, daughters, sons, and grandchildren was what made me feel uncomfortable. The eyes that followed me as my brother and I stumbled across the carpet, trying to find a familiar face, frightened me. All I remember was being kicked out of her home and sent home. I was in the second grade, and I still don’t understand what we had done wrong to be sent home. This experience affected how I see this holiday.

My neighbor had a big, loving, friendly family, whereas I came home, I opened the door to pitch darkness and the sound of our shoes making out of sync footsteps.

I suppose I have learned to adapt to this holiday, because I know it’ll never be the way that I want it to be. Nothing is perfect. I think I’m fine with that. I was young then; I didn’t know the difference. Now, knowing more about my family’s history, I know I don’t want to put angry people that hold grudges against each other all in the same room. It’d be nice to have one of those days where my family came together as one, and was genuinely happy with each other, but having masked smiles and mixed feelings, isn’t what I want to spend my day being thankful for. When we can’t even be thankful that we’re all together for once, despite our differences.

I would rather spend my day alone, and internally appreciate all that I have, than be surrounded by insincere gathering on Thanksgiving.

The kNOw Youth Media
The kNOw works to support and equip young people with the journalism and advocacy skills they need to tell their stories and the stories of their communities.

In 2006, over 25 youth began participating in weekly after-school writing workshops where they congregated in the hallway of a two-story building in West Fresno and learned the essentials of creating media and telling their stories. The group evolved over the next five years and is now proudly recognized as The kNOw Youth Media.

Through our program, we create opportunities for our youth participants, who in turn create long-term positive change in their communities. Our approach weaves youth development and youth media innovation to produce our biannual youth publication, multimedia projects, and community forums.

The kNOw began as a project of New America Media, which was the country’s first and largest national collaboration and advocate of 2000 ethnic news organizations. In 2018 The kNOw became a project of Youth Leadership Institute.

Related Posts