Thanksgiving Enchiladas

29 Nov

Mexican style Thanksgiving means it is a Thursday in November and we are in Mexico. That is all.
Or I guess I could say, My mama and her partner Dee are in town, just to share Thanksgiving with us. Not! (Remember when saying “Not!” after everything was a thing? That was my childhood. Explains a lot, right?)
My mom, on Facebook, made it sound like this, though- like they were down here celebrating Turkey Day with us, perhaps with a Mexican guajalote instead of our factory-produced bird. She said she was, “enjoying Mexican style Thanksgiving” with us. So I wanted to give you a little picture of what that looks like.
No stores close. Nobody is off work. Nobody eats turkey. Nothing special happens. There aren’t even any special Mexican dishes for the day- no Thanksgiving enchiladas, no special Thanksgiving salsas, nada. Let me add, too, that if there was a holiday happening on a Thursday, it would be celebrated on a Monday anyway so that people could have a three day weekend. Nobody here in my town would be mauling people to buy crap the next day, either, because there aren’t enough people with lots of expendable income for them to fight over the goods at our two department stores.
Maybe you were led to believe that because some of my family are down here we’d have our own little Thanksgiving celebration. You’d be wrong. Sounds good, in theory, but in reality not one of us is that committed to Thanksgiving as a holiday. Honestly, I completely forgot that it was Thanksgiving until late that night. (This is what happens when you don’t have constant access to Facebook.) And did I mention that no one is off of work or school? So on my ever-rushed lunch break, we had some pasta with canned cream of mushroom soup and stir-fried vegetables. For dinner we had take out pizza. We were almost all seated at the same table for 10 minutes for dinner, if that counts for anything. Except Lucia seated herself at her own private kid table and Khalil’s need to crawl prevented him from remaining seated. Alas and alack. Maybe next year.
Seriously, let me be clear about what Thanksgiving, the holiday, is here in Mexico. It is nothing, at least here in Oaxaca. Yes, Mexico was also inhabited by advanced civilizations when invading colonizers from Europe arrived. But Mexico doesn’t have a holiday to celebrate the invasion and attempted genocide of their first peoples. Well, okay, there’s Columbus Day, which here is called Dia de la Raza (Day of the Race), and is about the blending of cultures that resulted after colonization. Somehow that is slightly more palatable to me than a feast that happened with two cultures sharing nicely before a near-total genocide of one of them.
I know, I know, you’re thinking we must be super anti-Thanksgiving grinches. That’s not totally true, either. I am all about the ideas behind Thanksgiving- celebrating with family and the act of giving thanks. I miss my family in Kentucky on a daily basis. I intentionally acknowledge my gratitude for what I have, daily. And my nuclear family is already its own daily celebration of the intermingling and sharing of cultures. So I think I’m all about Thanksgiving. Minus the turkey, the over-stuffing myself (unless someone gives me access to unlimited chocolate), and the rabid consumerism that appears to be part of the whole shebang these days.
So there you have it, folks. The true story of our Mexican style Thanksgiving this year. This year, this glorious visit from Dee and my mom, I am extra grateful. I am extra grateful to still have one living parent. I’m grateful to have two “bonus” parents, in my mom’s partner and my dad’s wife. I’m grateful for my fabulous in-laws. I am grateful for my two children and their relative health (meaning they’re sick all the damn time since my three year old started preschool, but they keep getting better, too, so we’re all good). I am grateful for my husband. I’m grateful for all my Kentucky family, including my wild traveling Aunt Julia and Uncle Terry.
I’m grateful that this visit, I am learning more than ever to appreciate each moment and accept it for what it is. To accept that, for large portions of the visit, I am going to feel like a zombie, because I have two small children and a full-time job. That I’m going to have to still do chores and take kids to the doctor and pat baby backs and find a moment to write. That I can’t “take advantage of each moment” the way I dreamed about, because I still have a crazy daily life to deal with. But my family knows this. We know the time’s going to go too fast no matter what, so we’ll just do the best we can, and give thanks that we have this moment, now, whatever it is. We can give thanks for the hope that there will be more time to share in the future. That is my Mexican Thanksgiving. So keep your turkey, thanks.

Every meal together is thanksgiving in my world.

Every meal together is thanksgiving in my world.

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