I recently got back in touch with a guy on Facebook who I went to high school with in Tennessee. After graduating, we both went our separate ways and started our lives, and I hadn’t heard much about him for years. To my excitement, I discovered through Facebook, that he has a beautiful wife, Emily, and three beautiful children. Eager to catch up with them, and learn more about how they navigate the waters of a multi-cultural family, I asked Emily to share a little bit about their Thanksgiving celebration. Here is the story of the Karawadra Family Thanksgiving.
The Family We Have Become
I am part of a multi-cultural family like many families are in the United States. This is a path my husband and I chose when we got married 14 years ago. My husband Dee is a Gujarati Indian with strong family roots in his heritage and culture. I am a typical American girl from the state of Maine. We couldn’t be from two more totally different worlds.
Seventeen years ago we met and have been together ever since, living in Memphis TN. Did I know what I was getting into then? Absolutely not! However this journey has taught me lessons beyond what my sheltered world ever could have. With this meshing of two different cultures came our family.
Part of being in our family means that a holiday will never be spent alone. Whether it is an Indian holiday or an American holiday, this family celebrates it with the same passion. Our three daughters thoroughly enjoy celebrating holidays. They embrace the Indian culture and enjoy all aspects from dancing to food. Thanksgiving is one of those holidays. We typically celebrate thanksgiving with Dee’s side of the family. Lots of them live in Memphis which makes getting together easy. Our Thanksgiving looks a little different from a typical “American” thanksgiving. The food that is prepared is a diverse offering of the traditional American themed menu of turkey and stuffing, to foods full of Indian masala spices. The menu is catered to all who are attending from the vegans, vegetarians and the meat lovers.
Next to the traditional turkey and stuffing sits a tandoori turkey and curried vegetables. This is the thanksgiving that my children have come to know and love. Although it may look different the celebration is the same. The true spirit of thanksgiving takes place each year at the Karawadra thanksgiving table. Gathered around the table enjoying the food and great company are friends and family. Everyone contributing to the menu with the dish they do the best. The time is used to unify the family and to be thankful. We are not just thankful for the food and great company, we are thankful for the relationships that have been built around this table over the years.
Although it may be silent, there is a true gratitude paid to one another on this day each year. Whether it’s between a sister and a brother or a niece to her uncle the appreciation and love for one another radiates from their faces. I am thankful for having experienced this first hand, and I am more thankful that my children have been able to live it. This day is not about the turkey, but about family, friends and a true appreciation for life. Out of holidays like this our family was made.