Sunday, June 9, 2013

Family

I went to work on Wednesday.  Well, not to the office but to an off-site meeting that was held very close to our house.  They are making some changes to my department and both Gary and I thought it would be a good idea for me to go.  He took a vacation day to stay home with Miranda and I spent the day with my colleagues.  In the end, I was glad I went.

There were some new faces at our meeting so one of the first things we did was to go around the room and introduce ourselves.  There were little piles of cards around where we were sitting that we were to choose to read from.  Each card had a question and we were to answer our question after our introductions.

I started with my name and what I do for the company.  I explained that I have worked there for 7 years next month.  I have had a few different roles but that the one I am in now is by far the best fit for me.  There were a few more details and then I got to my question.  

"What is your favorite part about Thanksgiving dinner?"

I felt like the easy answer was apple pie or stuffing but I am not one to take the easy way out!  So I said family.

Family to me is everything.  This year, my daughter will be at Thanksgiving with us.  My mom will be there beaming with pride. My youngest brother and his wife, who have been literally traveling all over the globe, will be back in the states with us.  My other brother and his family will be there.  Heck, we eat and his wife's mother's house!  Our family tree has a of of branches and we all love it that way. 

I explained all of this and then said how extra lucky I am to have the family I have.  I met Gary when I was 34.  I had exhausted all of the online dating sites and was pretty sure that I was never going to find Mr. Right.  I pondered having a child on my own and thought it might be too hard and the risks were too high so I have pretty much assumed that motherhood was not in my cards. 

Ha.  What did I know?  My life was sitting in a cube 10 feet away.  In the one place I had not looked.

So to have a family - the one I was born into which means more than I could ever say and the one I married into - which means more than I could have ever dreamed....well that's the best part of Thanksgiving for me.  To be celebrating with the family that Gary and I are making...with Allie in our hearts and Miranda in our arms...that's the best part of any day for me!

But as is much with my life, Thanksgiving is also bittersweet.  It's the holiday I spent with my step-brothers and step-sister growing up.  We spent many hours over super buttered mashed potatoes and lots of laughter.  But those days and those relationships are in the past.  Memories of a different time. 

It's also a holiday that meant so much to my dad.  My dad who is now in a nursing home and who just met Miranda this week.  We walked into his room and I said, "Hi Dad.  Meet your new granddaughter" and he smiled his famous smile.  But the smile did not reach his eyes.  I believe in his heart that he knew who she was and who I was and why we were there, but the diabetes and dementia have taken over and the man I saw sitting there, confined to a wheelchair, was not the dad that I used to see over Thanksgiving.  That dad has been gone for some time.  Sometimes I wonder if he was ever really there at all.

So did I answer the question correctly?  I think I did.  My favorite part of Thanksgiving is all the people that have made me who I am. All the people that have celebrated with me.  All the people that have grieved with me.  All the people who have loved me.  All the people who continue to love me.  My family.

I am not sure that my card was supposed to provoke me so, but I am glad that it did. I am also glad that I have one more month before I really have to go back to work! 

To my family...and you know who you are...thank you.
Custom made onesie designed especially for Miranda from one of my BFF's

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