This is going to be the first Thanksgiving where my kids are not all sitting around the table together. My middle daughter is off in New York City doing a swing role on Broadway. After so many years of giving thanks together, this year it will be different.
I remember the first time we gathered around the dinner table when my oldest son left for college. It was the strangest feeling to have an empty spot at the table–a spot that had been filled for 18 years. Then my daughter went off to college too, and we had two empty spots.
I’m pretty sure that feeling is going to crop up on Thanksgiving day–I’ll be missing my daughter!
It’s one of those parenting transitions that we have to go through–from the time our kids are born until they leave on their own, we constantly have to let go.
But there’s something to be thankful for–no that my son has a girlfriend, we have the benefit of having her join us this year.
I’m very grateful for the technology we have today to bridge the miles and bring in family members from afar. As a deaf family, we rely on face-to-face time using technology. One of our favorite things to do is FaceTime or Skype family members during Thanksgiving. Here’s a trick we use: connect your Mac or iPad to the TV and your family members will appear larger than life! It’s a great way to get entire groups in on the family chat all at the same time.
Here are some creative ways you can connect while long-distance:
Group 1 selects a movie, person, or thing and texts it to a participant in Group 2. The person acts out the movie, person, or thing and the group has one minute to guess the answer. If it’s correct within the time limit, one point. Then Group 2 selects a participant and someone from Group 1 texts the movie, person, or thing to the participant. The first group to reach ten gets pie.
Throw on some music and let the moves begin! Be sure to capture video of Grandma swaying the hips or Uncle Tom playing the guitar. You can play “Name that Song” with the first few seconds of a song and have a competition. If you have singers in the family, let the vocals flow. If you’re a deaf family like ours, we love signing songs.
Plan the same food and sit down at the same time together. Park the iPad, TV, or laptop at the end of the table. It’s the next best thing to being there.
Let’s not forget the whole point of Thanksgiving: gratitude. Take turns sharing your gratitude moments that occurred throughout the year. Write Gratitude Signs and take turns sharing them. Start a Gratitude Jar–everyone writes down what they are thankful for, signs their name and the year, and put it in a jar. Every year, take the jar out, reflect on years past, and add another note. If you have kids that are fighting more than they’re loving, shift the focus to each of them sharing just one thing that they appreciate in their sibling/s.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!