For the first time in years, I’m actually excited about the Thanksgiving holiday. It’s been at least a decade since my family has gotten together; aunts, uncles, cousins, grandma. For many people, that can seem like a hassle, but for me, it’s a blessing. The idea makes me nostalgic, reminding me of a much simpler time, when family was more close-knit. As a kid, we would get new outfits, head over to my aunt’s or my grandma’s, gorging in a way we didn’t get to do the majority of the year, getting in trouble for stealing the meringue off of the top of the banana pudding (you know who you are).
In recent years, Thanksgiving has been sort of anti-climatic, whether spending it with the in-laws (who I love), friends, or just my immediate family. At one point, the idea of Thanksgiving even disgusted me, because of what it represented (you know, the beginning of the end of the demise of my native ancestors?? Yeah.). I had a hard time getting myself excited to celebrate a day that marks the genocide of other cultures…but, I digress. And then of course, there was just the subdued apathy that settles in after a while of not really going anywhere or doing anything. When my aunt let me know that she’d be hosting this year (and I’d be making the banana pudding), I was ecstatic. It has been so long since we were all in the same place for something that didn’t involve death or hospitalization, and I miss that.
We so often take the beauty of family, with its faults and sometimes irreparable fractures, for granted. We assume that the option to reconnect with someone you haven’t seen in years will always be there, but that’s not always the case. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to appreciate the wonderful, unique people I’m blessed to call my relatives. We’re all different, we all live differently, but in the end, we all love each other. Even if Thanksgiving isn’t the most P.C. day of the year, I’m going to take it for what it is and use it to my advantage. It’ll give me the opportunity to catch up on the milestones and changes I’ve missed out on. And it’s a chance, if only for the day, for my family to feel a little like I imagined it to be in my youth. And in my selfish way, that’s enough for me.