So I had this idea rumbling around in my head for a post during this week-of-gratitude. I wanted to write something about my memories of Thanksgivings-past. About having so many of them. About being grateful for them. I thought I could share some of my old pictures and tell you about some of my Thanksgiving memories.

[Posting snag number one: What was my point, really? It felt awfully vague.]

I went looking for photos anyway, but quickly disovered that most of the photos I have of Thanksgivings-past . . . are pretty darn crappy, if they even exist at all. (It did send me down quite a rabbit-hole journey of holidays past, though.)

[Posting snag number two: A distinct lack of appropriate photos to illustrate my rather vague point.]

I mean, I came up with a few.

This one, for example. Me (far right, although I bet you could guess) with my cousins, my sister, my grandfather. 1970. (I was in 6th grade.) I loved these family celebrations – the big meal, the extended family all together, playing with my cousins. But you know what I remember most as soon as I see this photo? How much that pleated, wool skirt itched! (Comes right back.)

Or this one. 1988. The first Thanksgiving in our first house. Both sets of parents visiting for Thanksgiving. And what do I remember? Well . . . that Tom had to cook pretty much the whole dinner by himself that year — because I was “just barely” pregnant with Erin, and suffering from food aversions so bad that I couldn’t even be near the kitchen! (Comes right back.)

Or this one. 2020. Thanksgiving for two. And what do I remember? Well . . . enough said about that sad year. (Comes right back, though, y’know.)

So maybe I’ve given you enough examples . . . that you can get where I thought I was going with this post. That seeing our old photos can trigger the stories behind the photos, and how meaningful that can be for us. Something to be grateful for, even . . . those memories. I mean, the whole thing wasn’t quite coming together in the way I’d imagined in might, but that happens sometimes, and it’s (almost) always fun to see old photos.

But then.
Then I found this photo.

2015. We’d been posing for photos after dinner. We had a timer set up so we could get photos of all of us together, but Tom must have grabbed the camera and taken this one. Because there we are (minus Tom) . . . in all our goofy, post-Thanksgiving dinner glory. (Welcome to the family, Lauren and Keith! Get used to it. This is what we do.).

Turns out . . . it was my mom’s last Thanksgiving with us.

[Posting snag number three: Sometimes the photos you do find . . .  can do you in.]
(Sneaky grief strikes again.)

Sometimes . . . posts don’t go in quite the direction you think they’re going to go.
Or maybe they do.

I guess I’m ending up with this message: Get your cameras out. Take a few photos. Make some silly faces. Capture the day and your time together.

I’m grateful we did.

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.”
— Robert Brault