The holidays can be so hard. Some years they go overwhelmingly perfect. Everyone has money for presents and food and your aunts are getting along and you manage to not have conflicting dinner times between families and your whole family sits in a room together and is so thankful to have each other. Some years are like that.
Some years we have to deal with loss of loved ones and if you’re lucky, your family will stick together through it and love each other and value the time they all have together and be closer than ever. Some families are driven apart by loss. Some years we have to deal with conflict between members where so and so’s family isn’t going to show up. Some years it’s divorce, where no one is in the mood to split it all up between multiple houses. Sometimes everyone is so broke that they can’t do food and presents. Sometimes your grandparents move far away and no one has a place to host it.
My family is dealing with a little of all of those things. Loss, divorce, family members moving, people not getting along, lack of money. It’s a weird year in the Russell clan, but I’m still excited to cook some poblano cornbread stuffing and I’m going to spend the day reminding myself to be present. Yes, it’s hard. Yes I miss the people that are gone. The only thing I can do right now is live in the present and accept what it all is and love my family and enjoy the moments that we are lucky enough to be sharing.
Dwelling on what you don’t have is not what Thanksgiving is about. It’s important to live right now, because you will never get a redo, you won’t ever be able to come back. So even when the holidays are hard and your cousin tells everyone he’s gay and your grandma asks you when you’ll finally get a real job and someone brings up how much they miss your aunt who passed away and your mom sneaks off to cry for a minute, just remember that these are the things we’re put here to experience. You’ll never regret a moment of hugging the people you love and giving them the most of you.