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November 17, 2012

This Thanksgiving, can't my sitcom family be the right kind of sitcom family?

By Cindy Funk

By Leslie Crawford, Senior Editor

Have you played the game, "If my family were a sitcom family, what sitcom family would we be?" No? Maybe that's because the name isn't very catchy (working on that) or, more likely, because the game exists mainly in my mind.

I've given it more thought than I should admit. Would we be the Simpsons, or part of a Modern Family or Parenthood clan?

This is a tough one because there's a Grand Canyon-sized gap between the sitcom family most like mine and the one I wish were mine. I have gauzy dreams of us being like Parenthood's tight-knit Braverman brood, with all their processing, jovial outdoor family dinners, and fine bone structure. Plus, I would get to be the solid-as-a-rock, heart-of-gold mom Kristina and, with apologies to my real-life wonderful husband, my sitcom spouse would be Adam. Um, wow. 

But there's no way around it. As much as I'd like us to be like the Bravermans, we are far more Simpsons-esque, with a soupçon of Modern Family. While we eat dinner together every night, by candlelight I should add, the soft lighting is regularly sharpened with a serving of salty and saucy one-liners and a heaping side of sarcasm.  

This throws me off a little at Thanksgiving, when my earnest let's-share-and-relate impulses go into overdrive. If on no other day of the year, on this day I want my two children and husband to open their hearts and express their sincere gratitude. Really, is that too much to ask, dammit?

I want to impress upon them the importance of being, if not earnest, at least grateful for all that we have. So just as I do every year, I'll ask us to go around the Thanksgiving table and have each of us say what we're most grateful for. Once everyone emotes, we may even end up hugging. OK, there's no chance of that. More likely I'll hear, "I'm grateful we only have to do this once a year." "I'm grateful I only have to sit here for another five minutes." "I'm grateful I'm a vegetarian and not someone who eats dead animals like this poor turkey." Doh! But maybe not. They just might surprise me.

It's just that they usually surprise me far away from the Thanksgiving table. Recently, my 15-year-old thanked me for staying up with him until 11:30 pm to help him study for his test on the French Revolution. My 7-year-old thanked her dad for building a wooden tunnel for George, her pet bearded dragon. My husband thanked our son for taking in the trash without being asked.

And me? I'll thank them, at Thanksgiving and maybe even tonight, when gratitude isn't on the menu, for being my family.  

Follow me on Twitter @LeslieMCrawford



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Is *any* family normal? I'm just thankful we're all here to enjoy the day together.

We don't do the go around the table thing, but it's a Herculean feat to align schedules, and we do it. And all the cooking falls to me, and I still relish having everyone here with us.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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