I am writing this post from Boston. Yesterday was the first time in recent memory where I was NOT spending the fourth Thursday in November in Michigan sitting at the dining room table across from my parents, my brother and my sister. This has been heart wrenching reality for me. While I am 32 years old, I am still a child come the holidays. At Thanksgiving, there is no place that brings me more joy than waking up to the delicious aroma of my mom’s turkey.
I can think of few better ways to spend a morning than flipping channels between the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and Detroit’s own America’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. I am missing out on the spread of Black Friday inserts sprawled out on our kitchen table while my mom and I try to decide which stores we will grace with our presence. I was not there this year to provoke the loud and obnoxious family banter over dinner. I missed the homemade pumpkin pie that spent the day in the safe chill of the garage. And I deeply missed not being able to spend the evening hours snuggled up with my mom and sister under the blankets watching Christmas movies.
This is a tough Thanksgiving for me. No doubt. I have a list of grievances against the universe that are keeping me from fully enjoying what is arguably my favorite time of the year. My inability to be emotionally present in these precious moments makes it challenging for me to say that I am honestly thankful for what I have. And before you readers get all up on your high horses, let me say shut-the-fuck-up. I would not dream of going into detail on how I’m taking it up the tailpipe from the universe lately and ruin the holiday for you, but trust me, personally, professionally, emotionally and physically – I am just shy of ruin.
However, I am lucky because here in Boston, I am surrounded by wonderful people that have allowed me to be part of their Thanksgiving celebrations. I have been able to start a new tradition with my first ever Turkey 5K. I was able, for the briefest of moments, forget my sadness. And that has meant a lot to me. There was a time when the inability to go back to Detroit would have stricken me with an incurable depression. I would have been paralyzed at the thought of missing all of those things that make me happy. But the people in Boston – this adopted family – have made it feel like home. And so for the first time ever – I don’t feel the need to run away from this life and back to my old one.
While I was not able to take part in the traditional Samuelsen Thanksgiving, I am eternally thankful for having such fond memories of it. Not every old person like me can say that the only place they want to be is with their family. Not many would cop to missing sleeping in their childhood bedroom and snuggling on the couch at night. I believe the fact that I still long to go home during this time of year speaks volumes about the family my parents created. So in spite of all of the shit, I want to be thankful this year for my family back home. They have made me who I am – which depending on the day could be a good or bad thing. And I would like nothing more than for them to see themselves the way that I see them.
My Brother is gracious. It could not have been easy for such a laid back kid to grow up with two sisters that easily sucked all the oxygen out of a room. But he did it without so much as a word of resentment. I have never seen someone as loving and giving as my brother. It is easy to miss his selflessness if you aren’t paying attention. His grace is not in the number of good deeds he does or the gifts he gives, it is in the quiet way that he puts others in front of himself. He does this without asking for anything in return. He loves with his whole heart and gives of himself without prejudice.
My Sister is brave. But if you asked her she would tell you that she is not. Brave people don’t know that they are brave; they just do what needs to be done. She takes chances on people and opportunities. She’s not afraid to cold call, move across the country or take a hip check from a mean chick on roller skates. Things that would scare the bajesus out of a normal person barely register as a blip on her radar. This is because her bravery is not that she always triumphs, but it is the fact that she never, ever backs down.
My Mom is wise. I like to think that my Mom giggles a bit when she reads this. She has grown up thinking that in a room full of people, she is the one who knows the least. She could not be more mistaken. She is always going to be the first person that I call when I need help. When I have a question, I look to her for the answer. She forgets that wisdom is not just what you can read in a book but it is also what you can read in people. She gives perspective and advice. She offers comfort and hope. She shares knowledge and tradition. I’m pretty sure that is the definition of wise.
My Dad is strong. Like the solid foundation of a happy home, my Dad is always strong for us. We know that whatever life brings, he will be there for us. He is undoubtedly the glue that holds our family together. Day in and day out he lives the love he has for his family. And it is unwavering. I know he thinks that we don’t see exactly how much he does for us, but we do. It is his commitment to our family and his inner strength that inspires me to be just like him when I have a family of my own.
That is all. Happy Thanksgiving.