GratiTuesday: Family

a closeup of two people's hands, palm to palm.
Photo by Julia Larson on

My gentleman associate and I had the opportunity to visit with his cousin and his cousin’s wife for an evening last week. They were visiting this end of Canada from their end on the opposite side, and they reached out to see if any of the family wanted to get together with them. Heck yeah, we do! For our time, we went out to dinner and went to see a Toronto Blue Jays game (which is why there were in town to begin with). I’ve been thinking about how family bonds happen. My relationship with similarly-aged cousins was forged when our parents bundled us up in the car for daytrips to our cottage or to some family event. As we became adults and family gatherings became fewer and further between. The Family picnics and extended family holiday open houses fell into memory alone. And it became the prerogative and responsibility of my generation to decide what family ties we were going to keep bound, and which we were OK with loosening off along the way. Which I guess has been the prerogative and responsibility of every generation along the way, as well. Anyway, due to literal distance, gentleman associate never developed a relationship with his visiting cousin as a child, so it is lovely for me to watch them forge that as adults.

So yeah, that totally feeds into what I’m grateful for this week:

For all my cousins with whom I still keep in touch – even if that mostly means through social media. And for the ease with which my gentleman associate and his cousin have embraced their own bonds. And for my family-by marriage, whether that means married into the Famiglia on my side or the acquired in the Clan on my gentleman associate’s side. And, of course for the family friends who really are family of choice, too. I have some amazing people who I call family and I know that isn’t the case for lots of people.

Folks with whom I remain close, even when the thing that brought us together is no longer there to prop up the relationship. Colleagues from jobs half a lifetime ago; friends from our children’s extra curricular interests, former neighbours further away, former schoolmates… Some relationships with those parameters wither and some don’t. I’m glad for the ones that haven’t.

We’re bumping up against Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend. And yes, it has colonial roots that maybe shouldn’t be celebrated. But I don’t know anyone who sitting, around a table with family and friends, when you ask them what they’re thankful for, will reply that they’re glad we liberated/stole the country from Canada’s First Nations. But they are thankful for the people around their table, the relationships they have, the food they share. So I’m going to celebrate the thanks part of Thanksgiving. I’m gathering my parents, my husband and son, two aunts, and perhaps a friend or two. We’ll have soup from a recipe that’s been in my family for generations and we’ll have peppers stuffed with mushrooms and cream cheese that’s been on my mind since I saw the picture on Instagram a few days ago. We’ll deep fry the turkey and serve it with the bread stuffing my Mamma used to make. And we’ll be thankful that in the time of cholera Covid, we’re finally able to gather and laugh and  share.

So, friends, may your mashed potatoes be smooth, and your gravy be plentiful.

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