Thanksgiving 2021 is now in the history books. Once again, our extended family gathered in Raleigh for three days of feasting and family. This year was especially meaningful since we came together after a two-year hiatus due to COVID. Although we were smaller in number than some years, this year forty-five instead of sixty-five, we were still Fralix Family strong. The days together passed too quickly, yet we are grateful that we and our country were healthy enough for us to feel safe to be together. The joy of being together was palpable.
Other than the obvious meals we shared and the dishes that followed, there were long afternoons and evenings spent around a roaring fire. There were games played, including corn hole and card games. Some took long walks. The younger cousins (and some not so young!) spent time on the trampoline. And we caught up with what had been going on in each others’ lives. From our first gathering at Sawmill Tap Room on Tuesday evening until most left to begin their journeys home to Maryland and Florida on Friday, we cooked together, ate together, and played together. Then all too soon it was time to say goodbye for another year, not knowing what the next year may bring.
Grateful, thankful, and blessed. For those of our family who care enough to make the effort to come together, recognizing that all were not able to. For family who have kept the commitment to be together after the parents passed away, knowing that a chosen break in our tradition (COVID was obviously not a chosen break) would make it hard to continue the commitment. And now, for older cousins who recognize it is time for them to pick up the mantle and let us older ones “retire” from active duty of being in charge of our gatherings. While they will most likely do some things differently, the fact that our gatherings are important enough for them to want to continue them, to take ownership of them, speaks volumes about their importance.
Family matters. When we give family the attention it deserves, we all benefit. The circle of life continues. And it is about more than the food.
Now, on to Christmas! But first, my big birthday celebration tomorrow. I do not do Christmas until Thanksgiving and my birthday have been given their rightful celebrations. We are almost there.