Thanksgiving has taken many forms in my life. I’ve been the child at the kids table, the bored teen who looked forward to cousins coming, the returning college student, the young mother, the first-time host, the long-time host. Most years Thanksgiving has been a boisterous gathering of extended family. Because I’m one of six kids, and my husband is one of five, for a while there we had a run of double Thanksgivings, where we went to two boisterous gatherings of extended family in one day.

This year has been quiet and small, just the four of us. It is not our first small Thanksgiving, but it still feels like an anomaly. Something not quite familiar, not quite complete.

When my daughter was delayed getting home while waiting for the results of a COVID test, my heart ached. (Her results were negative, and she came home the next day.) While I baked and prepped and cooked, I kept marveling at the small size of our ten-pound turkey and the ease of preparing so much less food.

Thanksgiving’s been easier and lovely in its own way this year. But after almost a year of living through a pandemic, the holidays highlight how much I miss the chaos and brightness of my big family. Hugs and kisses and shedding coats as people come in from the cold, the chatter of many voices, kids spilling milk or dashing through tight spaces. The confusion of serving ourselves, the sense of settling down to eat, the relative quiet of gathering around the fire, the pounding of kids on the stairs when dessert comes out.

I am grateful for so much this year. Glad to have my kids and Walt with me, glad my extended family is healthy (even if I don’t get to see them.) Happy to have people to cook for, and time. I’m even grateful for the quiet. But I’ve also come to appreciate the lively, messy, heart-warming Thanksgivings of my past even more than I already did.

Here’s hoping you had a Thanksgiving to be grateful for.

Getting our Christmas tree on a beautiful Thanksgiving afternoon.

NaNoWriMo update
I have one scene to finish to meet my rebel goals, 6K words to meet the 50K challenge. Both goals are doable, though not necessarily easy (especially since I’ve got plans for family time and baking :o) Wish me luck!


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