Until last week, I hadn’t been home in more than six years, and I hadn’t been there for a big holiday since my father died in 2004. With my parents gone and most of my siblings having multi-generational families of their own now, I didn’t feel the holidays were the best time to actually see my brother and sisters.
But a year and a half had passed since I last had been with most of them, and everyone was going to be together this Thanksgiving, so I decided to make the trip home. I hauled with me a bunch of work responsibilities and decided to get a hotel room so I could work and have some quiet time/space, so I questioned how much quality time I would get to spend with my family at all.
Those fears were unfounded. It turned out to be a wonderful trip. I’m from a family of seven kids, and my five sisters all have adult children now, and almost all of the married ones of that generation now have kids of their own. Put them in a room together — in reality, a near-impossibility because someone’s always got a conflicting duty — and it’s more than 40 people.
Nearly all of them rotated through town on the long Thanksgiving weekend, and it had been years since I had seen most of my nieces and nephews (not to mention the grand-nieces and grand-nephews). My oldest sister also celebrated her 40th wedding anniversary that weekend, so I met a whole wave of old friends and in-laws that I had not seen in decades in some cases. And it all felt like home.
Thanksgiving morning was beautiful, and my wife and I dropped by the cemetery to visit the graves of my parents. I often wonder what they think of this giant wave of family they created. I know that I’m so glad they’re in my life.