Thanksgiving was just the other day and was marked with a disturbance in the family tradition. My great little brother is away at school and spent the holiday at my aunt’s house and because of my current employment, was unable to travel. So, my family came to me. I, for the first time in my young adult life, hosted Thanksgiving in my quaint and cozy apartment. My family, with the exception of my brother, came with their car filled with bountiful amounts of food, cheer, and love. They engorged my emaciated kitchen, which had only a bag of almonds and a container of dried plums in its belly, with all of the traditional fixings. My barren living room was soon transformed into a congested sitting/eating area with a mixed assortment of chairs and impromptu ottomans.
With a makeshift tv stand and a single couch we crowded around the living room in our pajamas watching the Macy’s Day Parade and indulged in delicious baked goods and steamy mugs of coffee. We walked to the supermarket and took in the majesty of the day to pick up a few neglected ingredients. While our table was a folding card table without fancy center pieces or a table cloth, we happily ate the beautiful meal that we prepared off of our paper plates and shared both laughter and love.
As the adage goes, you can’t choose your family. This in all of its simplicity is true. But the way that I see it is that while you may not choose the make up of your family, whether you have both a mother and a father, how many or how little siblings you have, whether you speak to your cousins on a regular basis, or if you harbor fond memories of your grandparents and long to be united with them yet again, you have the immense power to choose to love your family. Choosing to love your family means to accept the way each and every one of their individual souls are. Some may be shy, some outspoken. Some may love your taste in music, some may detest it. Some may pour gravy all over their dinner, while others may be a bit more picky. Accepting them is as easy as acknowledging their quirks and delighting in their individuality.
It is never easy though.
We are quick to hurt the ones that we hold near and dear.
Nevertheless, we choose to still love them no matter how much, at that particular hiccup in time, that we do not like them for whatever inane reason that we are feeding into, a reason, that in the grand scheme, does not matter.
We simply love them.
We love them enough to sleep on the matted carpet that covers a concrete floor with little padding in between.
We love them enough to forgive their transgressions.
We love them because they have forgiven our transgressions.
We love them because they left behind their mug from college because it is your favorite. And they know it.
We love them because they cry at goodbyes and count down until the next time.
We love them afar and we love them near.
We love them because they compliment your knitting.
We love them because of their hugs.
We love them because they share our love for cheese.
We love them because they pick out the best wines.
We love them because of their kindnesses.
We love them because they love us so wonderfully.
We love them because we choose to do so.