Well, not exactly. Although we did use assisted reproduction, turkey basters were not in evidence. But Thanksgiving, more than any other holiday, means family to me—both the family I come from and the family my spouse and I have created.

Thanksgiving has always been my family’s biggest celebration. My family of origin is nominally Jewish, but not observant enough to get together for any of the Jewish holidays. Thanksgiving, a food-oriented non-denominational holiday, has always been the perfect solution. (And my spouse’s family is Christian, but lives across the country. We tend to vacation with them during the summer, and not visit for Easter or Christmas.)

There is a sadness to the holiday now, though. My father—who, more than any of us, loved to gather the family for celebration—died shortly before last Thanksgiving. We will continue to feel his presence and his absence.

I will be forever thankful, however, for the family tradition he helped establish, the memories with which he has left us, and the welcome he gave my spouse into our family and traditions. I am thankful our son got to spend eight years with him in his life. I am thankful, too, for  the other members of my family who will be coming together once again this Thursday to eat and celebrate.

From a broader perspective, I am also thankful to see a greater acknowledgement of the real historical roots of Thanksgiving and the colonial invasion it represents. Perhaps in future years we will come to be thankful for an even greater understanding of different cultures, races, and ethnicities, and a growth of allies across these lines.

Wishing you all a very happy holiday, no matter how you created your family and how you are celebrating this week.