By the time this paper hits your doorstep I will be back in Texas for a business trip and then spending a week at my parents’ in San Antonio for Thanksgiving. It will be the first time in almost 10 years that I’ll be with my entire family of origin — my parents, my brother and my sister.
My sister and I have not spoken to one another in 10 years. I know that plenty of people tolerate difficult relatives in the name of getting along for the sake of family (and pumpkin pie) but that’s not the path we’ve taken. We’ve just ignored one another and never scheduled overlapping holidays with the folks, but this year, we’re both there for Thanksgiving and while “tolerating” will be the best I can do, I’m hoping it’ll be better than that.
Honestly, I cannot even remember what the last falling out was about. I’ve always been too bossy for her and she’s always been too inappropriately judgmental for me. We’ve always known how to push each other’s buttons and as our adult lives took very different courses, the things that irritated us about one another somehow became the centerpiece whenever we saw each other at annual family gatherings or funerals. We are geographically separated by half a continent so the distance and the infrequency of crossing paths never made “working things out” a pressing matter until now — we’re both going to be in Texas for this holiday.
I wonder how it’s going to turn out. I screwed up my older sister “courage” and sent her a nice email this week saying that I was looking forward to seeing her and now we’ll wait and see how it turns out. I am 10 years older than the last time I saw her, I’m wiser and I’m a lot less sensitive and defensive about my “different” career and family lifestyle choices. I’m a married fairy godmother with kids who lives a liberal South Minneapolis life. Two years younger than me, she’s a never been married, vegan, yoga intense, PhD book editor. You wouldn’t think we’d clash so much but we did.
I mostly would like to reacquainted with this person who genetically shares the Thomas sense of humor, loves playing cards and can reminisce about playing hide and seek in cornfields in Iowa and drinking Shirley Temples at the officer’s club in the Philippines in 1969. She can be so fun, charming and interesting.
At 51, I’m also more willing to pray for guidance about troubling things than I was 10 years ago. When I do pray about this, I am reminded that all I can do is my best effort and I can call upon heavenly guides to help me at this gathering. With angels helping with the gravy, we’ll at least have smooth gravy and probably less edginess at the dinner table. I can focus on things like that.
The essence of Thanksgiving is gratitude and finding the things to be thankful for in any, yes any, situation is the secret to peace and happiness. So I may have a renewed friendship with my sister but for sure, I shall be well fed, infused with Texas sunshine, loved up by my mom and dad, tickled by my nieces, and along with that, I will be thankful that on the next morning I’ll be coming home.
Terre Thomas is a self-proclaimed fairy godmother. She has an online gift shop, FairyGodmotherOnline.com and holds Best of Fairy Godmother weekends at Sacred Rearrangements once a month. She and her family live in the Lyndale neighborhood. She can be reached at [email protected]