You can take the child out of Thanksgiving but you can't take Thanksgiving out of the child, is not a saying. And nor should it be.
The last time my five-year old celebrated Thanksgiving in America he was two. He had some turkey. Ate a slice of pie. Watched Charlie Brown and his on-again off-again Peppermint Patty dramatically explain the meaning of the holiday before Christmas.
He has no memory of this or anything remotely like this whatsoever.
My children are being educated abroad. I always thought that was a good thing. They’d learn about different cultures, see the world, grow up with tolerance. I didn't really give much thought to what they weren't learning.
It was Thanksgiving here. Even though the date label up there says it is today. It's not. Yesterday. Thursday. Thanksgiving. Which I only remembered was happening on Wednesday. So. After morning band practice, a full day of school, one birthday party, swim lessons, endless homework and shopping for a new mattress, we threw together an instant just-add-water holiday dinner starring a store-bought roasted chicken. The locals were begging for an invite. But it was just us.
And this conversation I had with Charlie.
Me: Do you know what Thanksgiving is?
Charlie: You give your own food to old people-- no, I mean, you give things to lonely kids that don't have anything.
Me: Do you know what day it is?
Me: It's today.
Charlie: No it's not.
Me: Do you know who Christopher Columbus is?
Charlie: Is he a famous person?
Charlie: Is he a lonely people?
Me: Do you know where the United States is?
Charlie: Yes. In the United States.
Me: What about the Mayflower?
Charlie: I don't know what that is.
Me: It was a ship.
Charlie: Does it have missiles?
Me: No, it was an old ship.
Charlie: So no missiles.
Me: What are Native American Indians?
Charlie: People who live in the jungle.
Me: What is a pilgrim?
Charlie: A doe.
Me: Like a deer?
Me: What do people eat at Thanksgiving?
Charlie: Giving leaves.
Me: Do you know what a turkey is?
Charlie: It's a chicken.
Me: Do you like pie?
Charlie: No, only my friends do.
Me: What's your friend's favorite pie?
Me: What are you most thankful for?
Charlie: Max-- no, I mean, lonely kids. I thank you for lonely kids.
Me: Do you know any lonely kids?
Me: Do you know who Charlie Brown is?