It’s Sunday, it’s raining, and the chill is seeping into my heart and my soul. The house was filled with the sounds of children and the buzz of adults alternately enjoying and enjoining those same children, or acting like children themselves. We’re a family that is scattered geographically and just as diverse in background and interests. But it works.
Thanksgiving is ongoing chaos and unending food: Two tables for the big dinner, lots of leftovers and grazing thereafter. A bottomless coffee pot and a pile of breakfast bowls and snack plates. No schedule to speak of. Lots of help in the kitchen; a lot of undirected lounging at other times.
This Thanksgiving, the family gathered at my house. People came and went, sat and talked, squabbled, played games, ate and napped, watched movies, read books, worked a bit on portable devices, hugged and laughed, asked advice and handed out opinions, retreated into temporary solitude, and came back to join in loud and raucous bouts of togetherness.
We stayed up late, ate too much, laughed loud and long both at and with one another. Then, suddenly, in the midst of a chill rain this morning, and with a watchful eye on weather reports southward and to the west . . . suddenly the laughter disappeared along with the smiles. The family dispersed — beginning the journeys back to normal lives and everyday worlds.
Heading in different directions, it seems, is what we do — not best, but certainly consistently and often — as a family.
This time, though, it seems to hurt a bit more than usual.
Maybe because the weather was so rotten. Torrential, record-breaking rains dominated the days and nights. The cold front blew in with a vengeance. We were, the dozen or so of us, inside together for the better part of three full days, warm and safe. Quick excursions to the market or the bookstore meant occasional interludes of quiet when the numbers dwindled. Grownups took more naps than children.
Maybe because the togetherness was so pervasive, family bonds seemed strong this holiday. Perhaps because numerous life changes have occurred among us since the end of summer, this getting together was a catching up and regrouping experience. Now it seems especially difficult to let go and step out separately once again.
This was, indeed, a time of gratefulness — for family, for friends and health, and for the ability to come together, to laugh, and to be in the company of those we love. Thanksgiving was the driver, and the vehicle, to reinforce those bonds. And even the tear or two that escaped during the lingering farewells felt right, somehow. They will soon give way to the excitement that builds from knowing that a repeat performance is scheduled in about a month! I’ll be counting the days.
Oh, how I love these winter times of merrymaking. I hope your Thanksgiving was as good as mine.