Friday, November 26, 2010
I read Sarah Seltzer and Lauren Kelley’s hilarious article “5 Ways to Deal With Your Conservative Relatives This Thanksgiving” before going to my sister’s for Thanksgiving dinner. It got me thinking about Thanksgivings past and how life has changed. My husband and I are the older generation now. The conservative relatives who would have made those cringe inducing remarks have for the most part passed away.
I had some very ugly fights with relatives in my family of origin. Over the years I frequently bit my tongue at Thanksgiving dinners with in-laws. When you’ve married outside your racial/ ethnic/ religious group (which I’ve done 3 times), getting into a political fight is a bit more risky.
We used to drive to Rhode Island every year to spend Thanksgiving with my husband’s relatives but most of them are no longer with us. Now we spend Thanksgiving with my sister and her friends. She has created a surrogate family with a group of old friends and they’ve taken us in.
When most of the folks around your Thanksgiving dinner table are good friends who share your progressive politics, you are not likely to hear climate change denials and birther rantings.
My sister, her immediate family and friends are all liberal Democrats. The only danger of a political argument would be with liberals who have become disillusioned with Obama. So I took Seltzer and Kelley's advice and went to brush up on the President’s accomplishments at “WHAT THE FUCK HAS OBAMA DONE SO FAR?” (Yes, I know there have been disappointments but over-all it’s an impressive record.) It turned out to be unnecessary. The only political anger expressed was directed--as it should be--towards the Republicans.
My sister used to bemoan having such a small nuclear family and long for the big holiday dinner. Well, she got what she wished for. Her Thanksgiving celebration keeps growing as her friend’s children have married and bring their partners. This year she could barely squeeze her expanding family into her house.
My guess is that my sister’s mix of family members and good friends is increasingly becoming the norm in our mobile society with changing notions of what counts as family. It sure beats the Thanksgiving Dinner from Hell that Seltzer and Kelley describe.