Thinking of the Fiddler of the Roof (especially sparked by watching it on Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade) makes me think of how our traditions really change, especially as we join different families.
My husband and I were talking about some of these things as we look forward to my sister getting married soon, and talking about what has changed since we have joined each others families (and traditions we are still getting used to).
I will always remember our big family gatherings with my aunts, uncles and cousins, the huge platter of turkey on the special turkey platter my Grandma had, the games of tackle football with mostly my uncles and cousins (this was normally after my grandpa yelled at everyone to get out of the house and get outside, especially in his later years, he enjoyed peace and quiet for "resting his eyes" during the football games.) There was also all the dishwashing that helped work off the calories consumed during the dinner and my mom's great pies. There was also the driving between families and going through the Sears Roebuck catalogs to start the Christmas lists.
My husband and I actually got into a discussion on what is appropriate timing for Thanksgiving Dinner. In this era of Google, I actually googled, "what is the normal time to have Thanksgiving dinner". As if Google knew how to keep marital harmony, it came up with exactly the time in between we each thought it was.
We each have different specialties and foods that our families prepare (we also have the advantage that both of our families have exceptionally good cooks and foodies as members). There are items that are different when we go to the different families houses.
One thing that really made me appreciate this Thanksgiving and that I'm EXCEPTIONALLY grateful for is that my son is not allergic to turkey. That may be a funny statement, but up until today, we were quite concerned that could be the case. As any one with a food allergic member knows, anaphylaxis is not something you want to deal with on the holidays. Twice in the past month at daycare our son has had a reaction to things that he has had all the time and that seem quite mundane. Like zucchini and turkey. He ate a ton of turkey and turkey gravy last Friday and his face swelled up and he got hives. Fortunately he was responsive to Benadryl. Just as everyone kept asking him if he was going to enjoy turkey this Thanksgiving, my husband and I tried to downplay that it is a turkey holiday. Fortunately in consultation with my son's allergist, we were told that it was most likely some other thing that he was allergic to that we may never even know, (this was especially after I told the doctor that he had had turkaroni, turkey sloppy joe and turkey meatloaf all within the past month without a reaction). The allergist commented that she wanted to eat at his daycare... So thus, with Benadryl waiting on the table, our son had turkey and did fine. What a great thing to be thankful for... So, while not all of the sides and the desserts are the same, at least so far, the family will be able to enjoy Thanksgiving turkey (at least unless he decides he's a vegetarian).
And just as the song "Tradition" is expressing the richness and holding on to family traditions in a changing world, so do we all try to hold on to our own. A little flexibility helps in this world, but the most important tradition to focus on is surrounding ourselves with love and family on the holidays.