We celebrated early this year, having our Thanksgiving turkey for dinner (not lunch) on a Tuesday evening. These meals aren’t the same without you, no matter how hard we try to keep up the traditions.
After you passed away, the tradition went with you. Sure, we tried to keep it up, but the family stopped traveling down. We drifted. Mom started working, and I just hung around the house. You kept us together; you kept us in line. Sometime after, I decided we were going to celebrate it again. I pulled my brothers into it. And we started again. We made the time. We tried to eat together, but that didn’t always work out. And I know you’d be disappointed with it, but we did our best. Soon other faces joined in our meal. Jeanna and Isabel. Joey and few of Jay’s friends.
Three brothers meant three holidays split between us. Soon Martin took over Thanksgiving. We drove to his home in Elsa. This left Jay and his family out of the mix, but we made the best of it. We were trying to live up to your standards. When Martin and Cindy split, Thanksgiving returned to Mom’s house. We wrangled up who we could and new faces joined into the mix, even though I groaned at the thought. One year, I went as far as extending an invitation to Javier. He declined, and I accepted it as much as I expected it. At least I offered.
When Jeanna and I split, the difficulty arose. I felt the thing that I wanted slipping from my fingers. These gatherings would never match yours. Last year’s was done more out of a sense of duty to not let anyone down. Jeanna didn’t show up. No one but Martin and his new girlfriend, actually.
When Melissa offered to host it this year, a part of me wanted to say no. When she said we’d have it Wednesday, that part wanted to say no. When it changed to Tuesday, I just gave up.
I didn’t do anything today (or yesterday, considering WordPress time). I ate leftover turkey in taco form. I read. I listened to podcasts. Watched TV. Went for a walk. I wrote this.
I miss your house filled with chatter. I miss the cousins. I miss the joyful noise. I miss the fact that I didn’t see this holiday as a day to tolerate family, but lose myself in their glee. Most of all, I miss you. In two Novembers, it will be the 20th Thanksgiving without you. I can’t even remember the last one we celebrated with you. I was only 13 going on 14. I can’t remember your voice. I can’t remember the smell of your house as you, Mom, Aunt Cookie, and whoever else cooked in the kitchen. I can’t remember the conversation around the table. I was such a little shit back then that I didn’t stop and take it in. I didn’t think there’d ever be a day that I’d wake and find you gone.
Traditions die, I’m well aware of that. And we don’t have the same gravitational pull you once held. My problem is that I hold such high standards and expectations for people. But not a year goes by in my adult life, since we started this up again, that I don’t think of you. Even if only for a moment.