It’s 10:35 pm now, just a few hours before thanksgiving. It’s not my favorite holiday, but I’ve been thinking about it a lot recently, mainly because I think this is the first one I’ve had where I’ve been so far away from my family. I did the “friendsgiving” thing when I was living in Austin, but even then my family was only a few hours away. Now I’m all the way on the west coast, in a different time zone than my immediate family and even further away from my family in New York than I used to be.
If you have spoken to me more than like two or three times, you know how much I talk about my family. I love them more than anything, and I love having a huge family. I love having 40 cousins and second-cousins and having a built in set of best friends who always have my back. I love my aunts and uncles who give me good (and bad) advice and encourage me to be better and sometimes get on my nerves. I love my family, even when we’re fighting and at each other’s throats and pissed the hell off at each other. I’m blessed to be in such a family, and I know a lot of people don’t have that, and I consider myself lucky that I do.
Right now, I miss them. I miss my parents and my siblings. I miss my brother, who I’ve spent the better part of my life being an annoying, bossy smart ass to but who loves me anyways. I miss my sister who has the exact same sense of humor as I do and who I can talk about anything with. I miss my mom and dad who have loved and supported me unconditionally, even when it didn’t feel like it. And I miss the extended family who live a lifetime away, who I haven’t seen in ages, who I don’t do a good enough job of keeping in touch with. I miss my cousins who I can always depend on and who I keep up with solely through Instagram and Snapchat and who I need to text more. I miss my cousins who check in on me at just the right moment and love me for me and don’t mind that I’m a huge loser who always makes them listen to my opinions about nerdy shit they don’t even care about. I miss my aunts who are some of the strongest women I’ve ever met in my life and who make me feel like I have all the love in the world. I miss my uncles who can sometimes be hard, but are still so sweet and soft and absolutely hilarious.
Tomorrow I’m having friendsgiving again with my two best friends. It’s going to be a lot of fun, especially since I’ve been even more depressed since I’ve moved out to California. It’ll be good enjoying this holiday with people I love, but I will miss my family. Salmon and brussel sprouts are on the menu for friendsgiving because my friends don’t like turkey. We’re not having traditional dinner because we found out at the grocery store that we literally have no thanksgiving food preferences in common. Normally, thanksgiving food is not my favorite, but the idea of not having it was way more crushing than it should’ve been for me. I’m not keen on stuffing or cranberry sauce or greens (don’t @ me). Baked ziti is just ok to me. Candied yams are good, but mainly just the marshmallows. I’m not a picky eater, but thanksgiving food is not my favorite. But despite knowing this about myself, I’m really sad we’re swapping the dishes out for food we can all agree on.
I know that sounds silly; of course we should eat food that we all like. What’s the point in eating something we don’t? And even more, what’s the point of buying food no one likes? I love salmon and brussel sprouts and rice and biscuits and the other oddball dishes that will make up tomorrows friendsgiving menu. I love my friends and I’m so excited to spend the day with them.
But I miss my family.
I will miss hearing my mom call my aunt on the phone to ask for a recipe. I will miss filming my dad and brother try not to burn themselves as they cook the turkey. I will miss hanging out with my sister as we make each other crack up and cuddle our dogs. My memories of thanksgiving in New York are slipping, but every single shred that I do remember, I will miss. I don’t want to celebrate the day with my family through snapchat filters and text messages and Facebook posts, but that’s what we’ll do; it’s what we’ve done since we moved to Texas and it’s what I’ll do now that I live in California.
I feel too complacent in accepting it and I feel guilty that these strong feelings of yearning only pop up around the holidays. And I feel guilty for going about my life for weeks and weeks at a time without giving a second thought to the huge family I left behind; how could I forget?
My strongest memory of thanksgiving in New York was actually not even in New York. I think it was in Connecticut, where my mom’s cousin lives. The whole family was there and the kids table was poppin. I went to the bathroom and I saw my great-aunt and grandma holding hands, helping each other up the stairs, and going into the bathroom together. I thought it was super duper gross, cus I was at least 8 at this dinner, so I didn’t need anyone in the bathroom to help me anymore, so why would they? I giggled about it with my cousins and we went on with dinner. I’m glad this is the memory I’ve held onto because even though it might’ve weirded out my child-self, I think it’s a good show of how supportive my family is of each other. It was a tender moment of love and it’s funny to think back about how silly I thought it was. Thinking about it now makes me wanna cry. I’m so thankful for what I had and what I have.
I miss my family. I miss them a lot. And it’s wild that something as simple as a non traditional thanksgiving menu is making me realize just how much.