Making the Most of Family Time

Thanksgiving Day. Hungry and losing patience before dinner.

This year, my spouse and I spent Thanksgiving with my mom in North Carolina. My sister Kimi and her husband and kids came to my mom’s house, as they do every year. This year, my mom was adamant about inviting my brother, Al (her ex-stepson) and his wife and kids, so the house was extra full, and it was wonderful!

The best part was that, with all of them under the same roof, I could ask them questions about things that happened when I was growing up and they could correct me if I remembered something wrong. My brother is ten years older than me (actually nine and a half, but I round up), and my sister is nine years older, so they remember things from, say, pre-1990, much better than I do.

“Do you remember that one time we went Easter shopping?” My brother asked.

I had no recollection of what he was talking about.

“Yeah, ya’ll came up from New Jersey and we all went Easter shopping,” he continued.

He and my dad were living in Rhode Island at the time (spring 1988, before my parents were married), and apparently, Mommy, Kimi, and I came to visit for the holiday. My dad was going to bible college and was really active in the church, so there was no way we weren’t going to go to church. I guess they wanted us to look extra nice.

“I remember,” Al said, “they found me this suit. It had white pants and green jacket, and I said, ‘That’s ugly! That’s something somebody in the marching band would wear. I ain’t wearin’ no marching band pants.’”

I laughed, realizing that my brother hadn’t really changed over the course of almost 30 years. I appreciated his consistency.

“That was back when you were really into that song, ‘Breakout! Don’t stop to ask…’ You’d be singing, and I would just say, ‘You sing it, Netta!’”

I laughed again. My family had told me that I loved that song when I was a toddler, but I really just don’t remember at all.

I’ve lived at least 350 miles away from my family for my whole adult life. While I enjoy having a separate life and, to be honest, don’t always look forward to going home since it sometimes fills me with dreadful memories, I love talking to my family about the past. I love knowing that, at certain times, we were actually all one unit, even if some of the members didn’t want to be there. I love knowing that they loved me enough as a kid to remember my silly actions, including how I sang and danced to a popular song that I didn’t even remember at all until someone mentioned it when I was a teenager.

I hope my family will be happy with the story that I’m telling. I want to make them, and their memories, proud.

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