Daily Journey Journal #184: giving thanks

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope your day is full of fun, joy, yummy food and time with loved ones.

Today, I have so much to be thankful for, but right now, in this moment, I am most thankful for the families in my life. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, but this year it is especially important because this is the first time my family and A’s family are meeting. We’ve been together for five and a half years, but our families have lived too far apart to visit each other until now. So, today I am so thankful that our families can be one over the holiday. I am thankful for the safe arrival of A’s family, for my da and J hosting the celebration and the memories forming all around us.

Have an amazing Thanksgiving!

Daily Journey Journal #183: family gathering

When I was a kid, my parents always hosted Thanksgiving for our family. My dad, being an only child, has a pretty small family, but by mum has three siblings, so our Thanksgiving celebration often had more than twenty people at the table, especially as time went on.
There are nine first-generation cousins in my family and seventeen years between my oldest cousin and my youngest cousin, which means that by the time I was ten, we had a second generation of cousins coming to celebrate. To me, this was fantastic. It meant I could have pillow fights with my age mates, play with my baby cousins and talk with my grown up cousins. In between there were always aunts and uncles, grandfathers and grandmothers to hang with. Thanksgiving was all about family and all year I craved that feeling of having a completely full house.
In the days leading up to everyone arriving, we rearranged the furniture to accommodate all twenty plus people, cleaned the house from top to bottom (which my brother and I hated), and started gathering enough food to feed everyone. On Thanksgiving Day, in the hours before my family started arriving, I peeked out the front window a million times, looking for my grandparents’ truck, my aunts and uncles SUVs, my cousin’s jeep. I loved that anticipation and the feeling of the clean, quiet rooms. If was as if the house were also anticipating the beginning of our crazy family gathering.
It’s been many years now since my whole family has gathered in Wyoming, all nine of us cousins having grown up and started our own lives, but I still remember the Thanksgivings of childhood. I loved every second of the family get togethers. There was never a quiet moment, never the doldrums of boredom. And always, there was such love and care.

Daily Journey Journal #181: preparation

The wind whips at my face, pulling at my coat and tossing my hair in my face as I walk out of the house. A hint of freshly baked bread fills my nose and I smile. Thanksgiving is almost here!

To say I am excited is definitely an understatement. Thanksgiving is absolutely my favorite holiday. Family, friends, good food and crisp weather. There is nothing better!

In preparation for the big day of yumminess, A and I spent the weekend baking. Dinner rolls, cinnamon rolls, pies…everything we couldn’t have last year. The smell of baking bread filled the house. Flour coated the counters. Dough stuck to my fingers.

It was perfect.

There is something about baking, the smell, the warmth, particularly when the weather is frigid, that fills my heart with joy. I missed the mixing and kneading, adding and pouring, shaping and tasting of baking. I missed the yeasty smell of rising bread dough, the sweetness of cookies fresh from the oven, the steam rising from freshly baked muffins.

This, baking, is utter contentedness.

 

Daily Journey Journal #180: family matters

From November 23, 2014

It was Saturday night, a storm was rolling in and we were hungry. My dad was out of town, so it was just A, my step-mom J, and me. What better to do, we decided, than order take-out Chinese and have my mum over for some family time?

Answer: Nothing.

Now, some people might find this situation odd, especially at first.  My friends at university sure did when I invited them to my mum’s birthday party at my dad’s house, which J had helped me plan. I will admit, it is a bit weird, but only because it isn’t the norm. For me, this family is more than I ever could have hoped for.

Twelve years ago, when my parents divorced, I was furious. Six years later, when my dad remarried, I was equally as disgruntled, as I hardly knew my new step-mother and was reluctant for the change. Little did I know at these times that such changes were true blessings because they led to the creation of the family I now love and cherish above all else.

Unlike many divorces, my parents separation was civil and they didn’t allow things to get ugly. Today, my parents are friendly, and what’s more, my mum and J, get along fabulously. Both women are incredibly considerate and accepting, which I think is why their relationship works so well. They are masters at adapting and ignoring norms, which means that no one has to choose sides, be excluded or feel awkward about anything.

As Thanksgiving gets nearer, I am especially thankful for these two women, who have made it possible for us to have a complete family. Their courage to set aside any awkwardness has made the difference time and again.