My son was at work all day on Wednesday. When he came home, his cousin leapt onto his back. He is used to this, so he walked around greeting everyone with her still attached at his neck. My brother and I did such a good thing making sure these cousins grew up close, like siblings.
My heart son E. was also home for the holiday. He's growing his hair out for dreadlocks. He used to wear them as a kid, and they were just beautiful on him. His hair is in that in-between stage now. I think he's in a kind of spiritual transition as he figures out what he wants to do with his life when he graduates college next year. My daughter and E., who attend college in the same town, had their heads together, sharing confidences. Later I asked her how he was doing. She said, "He just basically wants to be a good person and he's figuring out what that means for him."
My daughter and my niece were catching up on each other's news. This niece, a wonderful photographer, has had one of her images chosen for a prestigious gallery show. She was glad to be here for the holiday and we were ecstatic too. Last Thanksgiving, she was in the hospital and having a very rough time. What a difference a year makes.
When you're eighteen people in a small apartment, everyone has to suspend their sense of personal space. I once read that the secret of a great party is to hold it in a place that is too small for the numbers so that the guests have no choice but to interact. Our Thanksgiving gatherings certainly are proof of that.
My cousin, whose husband died a month ago, held up fairly well, though she often had that thousand yard stare. We didn't have the cranberry sauce from scratch that her husband used to make. The canned stuff just didn't cut it now that we'd had the real deal. Gary's birthday was the next day, so those of us who were of age raised a toast to him in the form of tequila shots later in the evening. My cousin appreciated that everyone talked about Gary freely and missed his presence.
My darling man cooked the turkey, the mac and cheese, the broccoli in garlic and oil, the stuffing, the ham, the gravy—the feast! My son did the candied sweet potatoes, my cousin the potato salad, and I did the corn and cheese casserole. But there would be no Thanksgiving dinner without this man, who every year delivers to our table the most tender and moist turkey you have ever tasted!