My good friend Heather has asked me to write a blog about my family's Thanksgiving traditions. This has taken me a while to get around to because I am in my final semester of a degree and have been busy focusing on that. But, I have decided to make time today to sit down and fulfill her request. The same way that I have to make time and commit to following through with promises to friends, my family has a tradition of putting aside a weekend to spend quality time with one another.
My great-grandfather, Gareth Maybee, was a true family man. He recognized the importance of keeping a family strong and worked towards instilling the appreciation of family in the future generations.
My Great-Grandfather and his wife, Phyllis Maybee had three daughters; Jane, Nancy and Lynn. In 1953 Gareth Maybee began a tradition of taking his family away on every Thanksgiving weekend. Once a year, a weekend was dedicated to just spending family time together, with no distractions.
As his daughters got married and had their own children, the thanksgiving group began to grow. Soon Gareth's grandkids, including my father, were all experiencing the tradition, and developing close relationship with their cousins as they learned about the importance of family and began to appreciate how special this tradition was.
Eventually, Nancy and her husband and children moved out to the West-Coast. This distance did not stop herand her husband from continuing the tradition of Thanksgiving Weekend get-aways. Her family continued to grow, at the same rate as her sister's families. Soon there were children, grandchildren and great grandchildren all a part of Thanksgiving weekends. One group in Ontario, and one group out West.
My great-grandfather was a very successful patent lawyer who was able to fund these weekends for our entire family. We have always known how lucky we are to experience a weekend away with meals provided, nice accommodation and tons of family time, free of cost to us.
Although my great-grandparents have both passed on, our Thanksgiving weekend now includes family gatherings in two different provinces, spanning four generations and over 45 people including what would have been Gareth's great-great grandchildren. This past thanksgiving weekend was the 60thanniversary of this tradition – something worth celebrating.
Every year since I met Heather, she always makes a point of recognizing how wonderful my Thanksgiving family tradition is. I am happy to say that I agree with her. I have never taken it for granted. I am so grateful to have had so many weekends of fun and bonding with my extended family. It has kept us as a tight family unit and allowed me to watch my cousins grow up. I not only have genetic ties to my cousins but I also have friendships with them, something that can be partially accredited to that one weekend a year where nothing matters except for strengthening our bonds.
The money that my great-grandparents left to their children has continued to fund our weekends away, and although my grandparent's health is failing and they may not be around for many more thanksgiving weekends, I know that it is a tradition the rest of our family will continue to pursue in legacy of a man who cared enough about his family to make time, without distractions, once a year and instill his values in to the future generations of his family.
Heather Audrey Lapier