Thanksgiving in Retrospect

by Bella Rum

family-tree-1I’m going to try for the second time to write my day-after Thanksgiving post without being so bleak. Yesterday, my feelings caught me off guard. I usually have such a joyful time at my brother’s, but I found myself feeling a little emotional about how small our group has gotten and how haggard Aunt Ruby looked and the fact that Cassidy Grace has grown little, tiny boobs. She’s my nephew’s youngest, the baby is eleven-years-old. What’s the matter with me. I wanted to weep at Cassidy Grace’s boobs, telling them to leave her alone for a few more years. Okay, weeping is a little dramatic, but you know what I mean. All of it combined made me a little sad.

How beautiful my nephew’s girls are, and smart. Can’t leave that out. They are bona fide smarties. They all make straight As. He and his wife have done one bang-up job of raising those girls. They are an adorable family. The oldest one is in college and ecstatic about her life. Ecstatic! It made me happy to just sit there and listen to her. His middle daughter is so smart, the kind of smart where she doesn’t have to try, and at 13, the kind of beautiful where she’s going to cause my nephew a lot of misery very shortly. That child is breathtaking. And the baby. Well, the baby just ain’t a baby no more.

My nephew followed me out to the car when we left. He told me how happy he is. He said, “Aunt Bella, you know I was a little wild when I was younger, and Sheri was so straight. We were different, but now we’re at the same place. It’s like things evened out, and we want the same things now. I’ve never been happier in my life. I’m so happy, Aunt Bella.” And isn’t that exactly how it happens in marriages. Some grow apart, and some grow together.

I was overwhelmed with how lucky we are to have the family we have left, and probably too aware that it will change again soon. Ignorance really can be blissful sometimes. I need to call Aunt Ruby more often. I do love her so.

There were the usual wacky stories. One of my more nefarious cousins sold a property to another of my cousins. The cousin who bought the property went down and record the deed. Then another guy showed up to do the same. My nefarious cousin had also sold it to the other guy. Yep, he sold it twice. How do you even do something like that? His sister said to me, “He’s a grifter. A nasty, mean person.” I generally love the crazies in my family, but this particular cousin is a bad sort. I’m thinking sociopath.

The food was, as always, fantastic. I wish I had a plate of it now. It was over-the-top delicious. My sweet cousin did bring the cranberry bread pudding with hard sauce. She wrote the recipe down for me. She got the recipe from a chef friend. I have no idea why I didn’t bring some home. I’m kicking myself.

Through tears, my brother told me about a brain surgeon friend of his whose fingers started going numb during a surgery. He had to let another doctor close for him. Within six months, he was wheelchair bound. I’m not sure what the affliction is, but it’s a horrible story, and I hated seeing my brother so vulnerable.

Sometimes we can’t help but feel what we feel. Sometimes it’s better to just go with it and feel it. When I was in my pajamas, safe and sound at home, I crumbled and wept. I wasn’t even crying about one specific thing. It was all too much. I felt cleansed when I finished. I’m so grateful for all that we have, but never have I been more aware of how fragile is our grasp on that tenuous thread connected to all that matters.

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