Today is Thanksgiving. I know because I woke up at 5:00 AM to find my mom already halfway through cooking Thanksgiving dinner. I plopped down on the couch and started scrolling through my phone until I heard her talking to someone on what sounded like the phone. I was still in my pajamas and I knew I would be scolded for my messy hair and tired appearance, so I cleaned up and changed my clothes before saying hi to our extended family.
Most of them are from my dad's side. He has 11 total siblings, 7 brothers, and 4 sisters. Or it's 12 siblings and 8 sisters and 4 brothers... I can never remember. Anyway, I said hi to my aunts and uncles. My mom also has one brother, but no other siblings. I kept greeting them until I was pretty sure I had everyone, and then I realized that I couldn't eat anything until dinner that day. It was tradition to go super hungry until dinner so you could stuff yourself and eat as much as possible.
My sister does that anyway, she doesn't eat that much. She came upstairs from her room in the basement and my mom and I along with our extended family on the zoom call jumped in surprise. "You scared all of us!" my mom said. "Sorry!" my sister seemed genuinely upset so we forgave her. My dad still wasn't up yet at this point, and it was around 7 AM. The Macy's Day Parade would be starting soon and he needed to hurry so we were able to catch it on TV. We never go in person even though it's just a short car ride away. My parents say that it's too cold and there are too many tourists. Well, not this year, anyway.
I was also hoping we could watch the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving Special, but ever since Apple bought the franchise, we haven't seen anything on regular TV. There's always YouTube I guess.
After a long while, my dad finally woke up and started making the lasagne. I wanted to help, but our kitchen is only so large. My parents were going to be on the family zoom call all day making the feast for later in the day, so my sisters and I crowded in the living room and watched the parade with the volume all the way up. We had hot cocoa and blankets wrapped around our shoulders because we live in New York and we can't have our house be too warm because my cat starts shedding. Speaking of that little rascal, he was sitting next to the fireplace we had crowded around. I guess he got tired of the cold too.
We watched the Paw Patrol float, Wendy's float, the turkey float, and Kool-Aid Man float go by before we started playing some cup pong on our phones. Time flew by and before we knew it, the parade was over. We decided to find the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving Special on YouTube, so we searched it up and found it. My sisters complained that the story was terrible and the colonizers were the ones who ultimately brought upon the Native American peoples' downfall and death. I had to agree, and afterward, we all sat and recognized the grief and sorrow that was truly behind Thanksgiving. There was a sour and sad mood in the house until the food was being served. Then we all said what we were thankful for.
My sisters went. The elder one spoke first. "I'm thankful that I get to spend this holiday season with the people I love the most, and that I get to spend it with you guys at all. The health and wellness of all of you" she pointed at the laptop camera and then gestured to all of us, her nuclear family, "my amazing family, is so important to me and I couldn't imagine living without you." My mom started crying and then my other sister went next. "I'm so thankful for everyone here tonight, especially Kdot." (our cat). "I love you all so much and I can't believe that this is our new normal." My dad went next.
"I love y'all so much and I can't believe how much we've all grown and changed in the past two years. This life has not been easy but we've managed. I wanna thank all of you for showing me the love and compassion that I have not always been able to return to you, and thank you for being there for me. I love y'all." Then my mom. "I love my babies so much. I can't even believe that you're all so grown up! Time flies when you're stuck at home right!" my mom was barely able to make it through her speech she was sobbing. We all hugged her and she continued. "Sometimes life works in mysterious ways, and I know, without a single shadow of a doubt, that I couldn't live without all of you in it." We all started crying, even my dad who had barely managed to hold it in since my older sister started talking.
We all started shoveling food into our mouths and talking at the same time after my Auntie Janet's family had finally shared their thanks and we could all dig in.
Sometimes things don't always go as they should, but we can always take comfort in the thought we have someone to go to in a time of crisis. It can take a miracle. Or it can take one person.
The topic of Christmas then came up. My father and mother are agnostic, and my sisters and I are atheists, so we don't celebrate Christmas as religiously as our extended family does. For example, we don't practice going to church on Christmas day, but our extended family does that. Mostly because they don't live in the North-Eastern part of the United States, though.
"We'll figure it out." my dad said. "Just like we figured this out. Sometimes it takes a whole family thinking together about something to come together and form a single opinion on it. We could zoom, we could visit each other. But for now, let's just enjoy the little time we have right now, separate but together.