Thanksgiving Traditions at iLevel

Every family has their own holiday traditions that they do every year. Our traditions are a little different.

Some years we might go to my aunt’s house in Pennsylvania and eat turkey. Sometimes, my mom’s family comes to our house for a few days. My aunts aren’t big fans of turkey, so we decided to have steak for our dinner! Sometimes, we spend the holiday with just the four of us. During COVID especially, we’ve had to invent our own traditions to do on our own. The Wednesday before Thanksgiving, when we have a half day of school, we usually spend the rest of the day watching old home videos. During COVID, doing this made us really sad because we knew that we weren’t able to see the friends and family that we saw in the videos for a while. Now that we aren’t as worried about COVID, we get to see them more often. My brother and I usually make a menu for what we are eating at Thanksgiving dinner. The menu changes every year but has consistent things like garlic bread and pot pie. We usually continue watching old videos, or even watch a good movie, until bedtime.

From the minute we wake up the next day, until dinner time, we spend the entire day in the kitchen cooking. If we make a turkey that year, that is the first thing we do, being that it takes so long to cook. If we chose to eat steak that year, we don’t have to worry about marinating it until later. I love being elevated at iLevel in my Stretto power chair and helping my mom cook dinner. Without iLevel technology, I don’t think I would enjoy it as much since I wouldn’t be able to see over the counter! About 30 minutes before dinner time, my brother and I set the table with our custom-made menus. We say what we are thankful for and enjoy our thanksgiving dinner.

For Christmas, we either decide on a trip instead of presents or we might choose presents instead of a trip. During COVID, we obviously chose presents, because it was not safe to go anywhere. After dinner, my brother and I start on our Christmas lists so that way, our parents can get started during Black Friday. We mostly did online shopping for Black Friday throughout COVID, but when the risk of COVID was lower, we made a list for our dad and sent him into the herd of crazy shoppers.

Black Friday with a wheelchair is not easy, even though my Stretto power chair with iLevel is super narrow at the base. On Saturday, we usually spend the evening looking at Christmas lights in our town or sometimes we go see the tree in New York City. We usually get up pretty late on Sunday and spend the rest of the day getting ready for school and looking back on what the amazing weekend we had. We are so grateful for the opportunities that we are given.

About Sakina Shamsi: Sakina lives in New Jersey with her parents and brother. Although she has spinal muscular atrophy type II, Sakina lives a full and independent lifestyle. She is active in the disability community and enjoys horseback riding, baking and crafting. Click here to learn more about Sakina.