The "holidays" bring a set of expectations to the door. We all get the yearly visit. While the particulars vary, the overall similarities are part of the American culture. We celebrate and give thanks with family, friends, and food.
The gatherings of my youth are but fond memories. The older generations, those people who passed the family name down, are gone. What remains of my parent's generation is fractured by death and ill health. My generation is equally scattered on holidays, busy with the younger generations of children and grandchildren. I have no biological children. My father has been gone for many years. My mother has Alzheimer's. The sister of my heart moved away. I am, for all intents and purposes, alone on this day, without blood relatives who share my memories.
That's not to say I don't have people around me. My online posse is far-flung but wishes for a happy day arrived. My partner is the oldest of his siblings and we have an unconditional welcome at his youngest sister's house all days.
Life goes on in different directions. We had a traditional Thanksgiving meal at the care facility with my mother. Afterward, we had traditional Thanksgiving dessert at his sister's house.
So while the day didn't unfold as in year's past, it was nonetheless a good day. I could be morose that the beautiful memories of yesteryear will not be re-lived, but I'm not. This is what I have now, today, and I count my many blessings.
Now that my partner and I are finally home again and into our comfortable old clothes, it's time to call a few of my cousins. It's time to embrace a new normal and make it my own as I go forward in life. I'm sure it will provide a new set of Thanksgiving memories, and Thanksgiving opportunities to enjoy and to be thankful for.