Coming Home

Thanksgiving was everything that is important to me: family, love, food. I shared the day in two places: my home and then 200 miles away.

Right before Halloween my mom went to see my sister in Fresno and promptly decided to stay a while and visit with her daughter, grandchild and great grandchildren. She had a ball. Everyone loves ‘nana’ and the grandchildren (young adults) took turns taking her shopping: from 99 cents store to Macy’s and everywhere in between.

A week ago we spoke on the phone. My sister called me from Costco and gave the cell phone to my mom, who wanted to know what sizes my boys wear.She was Christmas shopping. There was some audio difficulty and then she said, “I don’t know how to use these 1 phones.” (iPhone). Before she hung up she said she knew she had been gone a long time, but she was a ‘prisoner of love,’ and she was staying at my sister’s for Thanksgiving.

My mom is in her eighties and I have spent every single Thanksgiving with her present. Her declaration surprised me since my brother and other sister live in the same county as she does. We all spend Thanksgiving and Christmas together, except this year my Northern Californian sister didn’t want to come down to Southern California. Her husband died two years prior right before Thanksgiving Day. I understood and decided that all of my family would drive up for the holiday. That plan went out the window when both my kids had to work Black Friday on Thanksgiving Day.

My kids were a little bummed out about this and I was a lot bummed out, but we tried to make the best of it. I even looked for the Granny Smith Apple and sweet potato recipe to duplicate. That’s my mom’s special dish. I was already missing the green beans with bacon and almonds that my NC sister makes every Thanksgiving.

We had an early bird special at my house for my family, my brother whose kids said they didn’t want to go to NC if their cousins weren’t going and my other sister, who was too sick to go to NC. We had a good time, said  our ‘thankfuls,’ and talked about being without our mother and other sister for the first time in our life.I know I’ve been blessed to have such a tight knit family and also to still have my mother around.

After the meal, I set out for a quick twenty minute walk with the dog, packed my bag, kissed my kids goodbye, and hopped in the car for the 200 mile drive to see my mom and my sister’s family for Thanksgiving. It’s a boring drive up the central valley of California until one gets closer to Fresno where the trees leaves are yellow gold, orange, red, and burnished copper. We have palm trees and Eucalyptus where I live.

It was dark when I arrived, the air a nippy forty-six degrees, and the house smelled like sweet potato and apple pie when I opened the door. My nephews were on their second round of Thanksgiving dinner. The new baby was now a smiling chubby eight month old hanging on his pretty mom’s hip. My sister smiled and said the coffee’s hot and the pie’s ready.My mom jumped out of her chair and hugged me. It was good to be home again.

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