It’s Thanksgiving, and for the first time in 26 years I am not at my parent’s home with family, or at an Aunt or Uncle’s house to celebrate. This is my first Thanksgiving being away from “home”. Don’t get me wrong, I love Seattle, and I am extremely lucky to have my awesome sister and brother-in-law just a few blocks away to spend the evening with, but it’s still bittersweet to be so far away from the rest of my family on this holiday that normally brings families together.
As I sit at home alone this evening, with Lane snuggled next to me on the couch, I can’t help but to ponder the many things I am thankful for this year. Some serious, some outrageous, some trivial, and some special, but being away from my family really makes me realize the most important thing I’m thankful for, above all else, is my family.
It may sound cliche to say “family” when asked what I am thankful for, but honestly it’s true. This past month has been difficult for me. At the beginning of November I was able to finagle a trip to Virginia Beach; tacked on to a business trip; to surprise my grandparents (on my dad’s side), whom I affectionately call Baba & Bobo. Baba was diagnosed with Alzheimers a few years ago and as the disease progresses it’s harder and harder to visit her, not physically, but mentally. I love her, and no matter what she will always be my hero, but when visits are a barrage of the same 2 questions over and over, it’s hard to see past the disease and realize that the Baba I grew up with is still under there somewhere. She has good and bad days, and I was lucky to see her on a good day. I’m fairly certain she recognized me, as I’m sure I heard her say my name, but watching her dance around the living room, and laugh and giggle with my baby cousins like she hadn’t a care in the world, just made me realize that although she is there physically the grandmother that I used to sit on the ocuch with and chat about my day and life will never be back. I love seeing her, but it’s hard to miss the loving mind that I adored and idealized as a child. I can’t imagine my life without her, but part of me feels like she is already gone. None the less, I can’t wait to fly home at Christmas and spend time with her, even if it means answering the “Where do you live?” and “When will you get married & make babies?” questions 20 times every hour. I miss her, the way she was, but I’m still glad and incredibly thankful to have her in my life.
My grandpa’s (on my mom’s side) health has been slowly deteriorating over the past couple years. Seeing him in Washington, DC last summer made me realize how fragile he was, as he could barely get around, even with his walker. Last week he was admitted to the hospital, and his prognosis isn’t good. His heart is failing and the doctors have said there really isn’t anything they can do besides, give him medicine & monitor him. Everytime my phone rang this week and the caller ID said “mom”, I dreaded picking up the phone to hear the next round of bad news about his health, or even worse. I feel like a horrible granddaughter for not making time to visit Phoenix more, or not writing, or even emailing more. Almost worse is I can tell the tole it’s taking on my mother. She always tries to sound strong and just tell me the health news when she calls, but I can tell in her voice that she is scared and worried, and it breaks my heart to know she is hurting and there is nothing I can do to fix my grandpa or to make her feel better. I am worried too. Although I will admit to not being as close to my grandpa as I would like, mainly due me growing up in VA and him living in AZ, but he’s my family, and I love him, and I cherish the few times I do get to see him. I think a trip to Phoenix will definitely be in the works soon, even if it’s just for a weekend to help take care of him or keep him company for a few days. I don’t want to regret not spending more time with him after it’s too late.
Although this month has been emotionally tough on me, there are also good things to be thankful for in my family. Lots of new cousin babies joining the Dominicci clan. One due around Christmas time, and another on the way next year. A marriage will bring Sarah (who has seemed like family for a long while now) officially into the Sprigings family next May, and over all everyone is happy and healthy. Another positive is that I feel my relationship with my sister has been so great over the past year since moving to Seattle. I don’t remember spending this much time with her since we were in elementary school, and I couldn’t be happier to have her living so close and being able to spend time with her. We may bicker, because we are siblings and that’s what we do, but she is important to me and is a big part of my life.
Despite everything, I am extremely thankful for my family, and abundantly lucky to have such a large & loving family. On this Thanksgiving Holiday, I hope they all know how much I love them, and how special they are to me.