Our family is together for the Thanksgiving feast: Paterfamilias and I, Uber Son and his family, Alpha daughter and hers. We are gathered together at Uber Son's house--we all live in different cities and his is centrally located, big enough to fit us all in and require the least amount of airplane flights. There is much to say about these several days of togetherness--there are moments of great joy and hilarity--grandkids are cute and smart and amazing--and some difficult passages that attach to having so many people together at once, vying for attention. This is especially so when you all haven't been together for an extended period of time. I will write more of that after I've digested it. But one moment stands out:
We are seated for dinner--kids at a small table near the adult table. The wine has been poured at the big-people table, and Paterfamilias suggests a toast to being together plus a question: What do each of us have to be thankful for. Our answers vary based on our particular perspectives--Paterfamilias is grateful for the political change in the country; I am thrilled to see all my grandchildren playing together under one roof. And so on. But one of our guests--the widower of our best friend, a man who has been part of our Thanksgivings since the children were teenagers and Thanksgivings were held in our home--has his own observation. He has flown up to Uber son's house to be part of this year's feast and he says he is thankful to be with a functioning family when there is so much dysfunction all around us.
As a family, we may have our difficult passages, but they are just that: passages.