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Natural Awakenings NYC & Long Island

In This Issue: November 2021

Traditions Change. Love Doesn’t.

Over the years, Michael and I have spent Thanksgiving in many different ways. Sometimes we host extended family and I cook, or we head off to a hotel, or I cook for our own family of four. But we took it to the next level in 2019, when I hung up my apron and we went to Vermont to enjoy a fuss-free meal in a beautiful hotel in the mountains.

Last year, however, we had no choice in the matter. We stayed put and I cooked, and it will go down in the memory books that even when you’re faced with adversity, your health and those around you are all you need to be genuinely thankful.

The month of November and Thanksgiving go hand in hand, but to me, the connection between the two is more profound than a date on a calendar. Three major events—my father’s death, Michael’s proposal, and the birth of our first son—happened days before Thanksgiving. I still recall my first Thanksgiving without Dad. Of course there had been many when he and I couldn’t be together, but this was the first where I could not just pick up the phone and see where he was eating and with whom. There was my first Thanksgiving with Michael as an engaged couple, the exciting prelude before we embarked on parenthood, and then it happened, our first Thanksgiving as parents, with an 11-day-old baby to celebrate.

When I was a child, everyone in my family got together on Thanksgiving, no matter where we lived. My grandmother, aunt or mother would host the entire extended family. None of us lived lavishly, so being squeezed into every available space made for the warmest, most loving holiday memories. There were folding card tables for the children, while the adults got to sit around “their” table, the one with breakable china and crystal (ours had Melmac dishes and plastic cups). Everyone ate and laughed and landed on the floor or couch with full bellies. What could be better?

When my siblings and I moved out and away and started our own families, it got harder to celebrate Thanksgiving together. Our parents had divorced when I was the last child at home, so it became a selection process as to whose house was hosting and who was inviting Mom or Dad. And then after Michael and I had our second son, it became almost impossible to fly with two kids under the age of two, so all we could do was send our good wishes by phone.

However or wherever you celebrate, whether it’s in person or over Zoom, embrace this annual meal. It allows you to remember those you have loved and lost, those who’ve come into your life anew, and those you cherish but don’t get to see every day. Our job is to keep up this beautiful tradition so it continues to flourish from generation to generation.

Happy Harvest!

Cyrece, Michael and the boys

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