A PostBourgie Guide to Thanksgiving.

We know. If you’re anything like us, Thanksgivings “back home” are nothing short of surreal. You cross the threshold into your former home and your family, who likely haven’t seen you in six months to a year, either expect you to regale them with stories of your life in the Big City or stories of your Big Time Job as a professor/editor/psychologist/[insert job that in no way resembles your families' gigs here] or pretend you don’t have a job at all, because they already think you’re uppity and, if you get a word in edgewise about the rigors of your career, you’re only proving them right.

I’m going home tomorrow. For me, “home” is Baltimore. It isn’t where I was born, but I can think of no other city more responsible for my rearing than that one. This is not to say that my relationship with my hometown is without its awkwardness. I grew up griping about living there and dramatically vowed to leave as soon as I was able. I did. I went to DC. But after four years there, college released me to the open arms of unemployment and I had to shuffle on back to the homestead.

It would be another four years before I made it out of Baltimore, and I didn’t spend that time making my peace with the community. I spent it vowing, once again, to leave as soon as I was able. I never considered Baltimore particularly friendly to literary writers. It’s a great place for spoken word poets, fledgling or managing journalists, or street lit/erotica purveyors, but rarely did I find a resident there who thought getting an MFA in Creative Writing made any kind of sense.

Baltimore is for folks with hustle. It’s for moneymakers and money-takers. It’s for people whose good office jobs and occasional lawsuits lead to entrepreneurial endeavors (your neighborhood soul food restaurant, your independent cell phone distributors, your hair/nail/waxing hook-up) that lead to ownership of county-adjacent townhomes built to spec, from the ground up.

Whenever I go back there, I never quite know what to say. How do you answer for why you’re not in one of those townhomes? You, who insisted on going around the mulberry bush to get a couple of degrees instead of just stacking paper at the post office right out of high school? How do you return to a school reunion and tell your homeowning, child-rearing former classmates that you live on your fam’s couch while you’re building your curriculum vitae?

And running into folks you used to know really isn’t the worst of your problems, is it? The real conundrum is right in the family house, where you’re suddenly forced to confront whatever it was you sprinted away from as soon as you were able. For me, it’s the reminder that I am the third generation of living Brown women–which means I should be living up to something. I grew up in an orbit of matriarchs, my nana and mother being the closest constellations. I began my life living in an apartment with both of them. When I was seven, my mother and I moved out, but Nana’s presence was always as profound as it’d been when we lived with her.

After a decade of disorienting experiences living with my mother and her eventual defector of a husband, my mother and I found ourselves back in Nana’s apartment, sharing a bedroom with parallel twin mattresses positioned twenty feet apart. Then, upon procuring my first full-time job, nine months after college graduation, I took on financial responsibility for my mother, renting my first apartment and moving her into the master bedroom, while I took the much smaller spare. That went on for nearly four years, until finally, it was time for me to make yet another melodramatic break from the trappings of Baltimore.

That was all fine and good for me, but I left a little family drama in my wake. Mom had to relocate to Nana’s, while I went off to NY, pursuing a second degree.

Though I’m not exactly living like I’m middle-class (crashing on fam’s couch while adjuncting, remember?), I always feel slightly guilty going home, where I still sleep in that twin bed, twenty feet from my mom’s and my nana’s in the same two-bedroom apartment she’s been in for the past twenty-two years. I feel guilty for making moves, when my matriarchs seem to struggle with stasis. I feel guilty for positioning myself to surpass them, for thinking, “I want to be in a much better position than theirs, when I’m their age.”

It’s warranted guilt. After all, what gives me the gall to frown at the digs and the gigs that afforded me all my opportunities? How can I judge their stasis, when I’m part of its cause?

Then, as though these lofty ideas aren’t enough to choke down with my cranberry sauce and stuffing, there’s the biggest guilt of all, that nagging self-accusation that I should be further along, that all my years of “formal education” and post-grad career moves should be yielding me enough income to reciprocate some of their sacrificial generosity.

Instead, I’m just surfeiting on the meal they proudly and painstakingly prepared to herald my homecoming, however reluctant.

Talk about your holiday angst! No, really. Talk about yours, in the comments section.

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slb (aka Stacia L. Brown) is a writer, mother, and college instructor in Baltimore, MD. Check her out here: http://stacialbrown.com and here: http://beyondbabymamas.com.

30 comments to A PostBourgie Guide to Thanksgiving.

  • rakia

    slb: I love you so much right now for this post. It sums up my own feelings so well. On my favorite holiday of year, when we’re remembering all the things we’re grateful for and when we’re *supposed* to enjoy our families, I’d much rather spend the day with my homies in a cramped New York City apartment cooking a possibly tasteless dinner together while watching movies. But alas, I will spend the day reluctantly talking about my life as an editor in the Big City. And no doubt even the most mundane details of my “adventurous” life will elicit ridiculous, highly unwarranted ooohs and aaahs. My family tends to ask me so many questions in such quick succession that I either feel like a lab rat under observation, or a Ph.D. candidate explaining her thesis to fourth graders. Either way, my turkey and yams and cranberry sauce get cold. For all that work, a hot pizza and a Corona would’ve been less trouble. And probably more enjoyable.

  • Why do you feel guilty for wanting more? Isn’t the MO of parents to want more for their offspring than they had? (Am I just naive?)

    As for me, I spent last Christmas alone, and it was awesome. I grew up in California, away from all of my family (besides my parents and sister) in Virginia, New York, and NJ. Now that I live in NJ, I’m in closer proximity to “family” but I don’t know them well — or at all — so I tend to avoid them at holiday time. I tried it and I didn’t like the awkwardness. My parents give me a hard time about not contacting uncles and aunts and cousins, but they don’t seem to understand that just because they’ve known these people for 40 years doesn’t mean that they’re little more than strangers to me.

    Rakia: But alas, I will spend the day reluctantly talking about my life as an editor in the Big City. And no doubt even the most mundane details of my “adventurous” life will elicit ridiculous, highly unwarranted ooohs and aaahs.

    Rakia, I’m kind of jealous. Most of the family I know have lived much more interesting lives than mine, and so I always feel totally lame when I’m talking about myself. I live in the suburbs and I work at a stable, sort of prestigious, but totally incomprehensible (and therefore boring to others) job. I’m so boring compared to the rest of my family.

  • slb

    rakia: if i didn’t love my people’s cooking so much, i’d prefer the hot pizza and corona, too. lol

    shani-o: theoretically, you’re right. most parents want their kids’ success to surpass their own. but it depends on the family. and, in many cases, it depends on how well the parents are doing for themselves. even if they want you to have more than them, it’s not always easy for them to see you obtain that “more,” when they don’t have much/anything.

  • rakia

    re: Why do you feel guilty for wanting more? Isn’t the MO of parents to want more for their offspring than they had? (Am I just naive?)

    You must have really supportive parents. Even my folks, who are great people and love me dearly, every now and then make me feel badly for doing better than they’ve done. For example, I’m taking a trip abroad in a few weeks. My dad responded, with a hint of bitterness in his voice, “It must be nice to be able to afford a trip like that.” There was an awkward silence afterwards. Or my mom will repeatedly comment on how manless/childless I am, and I know part of that is a dig at my decision to put jumpstarting my career before marrying early and getting pregnant before I could drink legally. JUST THIS YEAR, Mom told me that I should let my fuckwad ex-boyfriend get me pregnant. She actually advocates this. Nevermind that it would completely screw up my life.

    But of course this is all bubbling calmly under the surface of the complex relationship we adult children have with our parents. I, for one, know my parents couldn’t be prouder of me. Really. It’s almost embarrassing how much. Ya know that one relentless parent at the football game who never shuts up and praises her baby for even the most minor accomplishments? Well that’s my mom. Cheering from the sidelines at high volume. Dad’s the more stoic type. He doesn’t say or show much in terms of being emotionally moved, but when I graduated from college and he first saw me in my cap and gown, ohmigod. His eyes fixed on me, his high-yellow cheeks went bright red, and his eyes watered.

    For me, going home for Thanksgiving is having to deal with all of this, all over again, all at the same time. And really, all I wanna do is eat and watch football.

  • slb

    rakia: with that little, loaded snapshot, you just captured the angst far better than i could.

  • This is a beautiful post. I feel just as estranged in some respects from my family who lives near by but our urban-liberal-bourgeois (me) and conservative-suburban-corporate (them) lives are just so different.

    What I envy is the interest some of you say your families take in your life. No one ever asks me questions about being a doctoral student, or my work (when I was in New Orleans all the time that elicited some attention, for better and worse). And the safe convos about kids and celebrities and one another, while familiar, are a bit stultifying after awhile. There’s booze and laughter, thank goodness, but just once I’d like to feel like my life isn’t so odd that it’s just not worthy of discussion.

  • Grump

    My holidays have always been an excuse to be in Chicago with family and friends. Growing up, the holidays were always spent with my father’s family. But once my folks divorced, we realized that the holidays spent with them really didn’t add up to much. So, we just spent them with each other(Mom, Big Sis, and myself) catching up with life, cracking jokes and eating the food in stages while the other dishes are being cooked. Its very a laidback atmosphere and I have never really thought about spending the holidays with somebody else in another locale.

    I don’t have to explain my life decisions to friends or my family. Okay, I do have to when I chat with my father. But, his opinion is not very accepted anyways(He still thinks that I should date the girl I went to prom with). Usually what happens is that when I meet up with my old friends over the holidays, we catch up and see where we’ve all gone and been through, while seeing which way we’re heading. Their interests are not always mine, but because its their goals, I have a small interest in knowing that they’re being met. The holidays act like a cross in the road where we pass by each other, talk, and the K.I.M…

  • slb

    Grump: that’s a very healthy outlook. :-)

  • SLB: I get what you’re saying. My folks both came out of abject poverty, but they worked their asses off and live comfortably now. I’m still at a point in my career (and youth) where they feel the need to offer help from time to time. That is probably why I get a “keep pushing and you’ll make it big” vibe from them. Maybe that dynamic will change.

    Rakia: I have the most incredible parents. Which, as I’ve learned over the last year or so, makes me kind of insensitive to people who weren’t raised the same way (but I’m working on it!). They were visiting last week, and the thing I kept thinking over and over again was: how wonderful is it to know that no matter what you do, no matter where you go, no matter how much time passes, there are two smart, thoughtful people who want the best for you, who love and cherish you, and will always, always have your back? I do know I’m fortunate that my relationship with them is that simple.

    By the way, are you an only child? On the “let your ex-boyfriend impregnate you” tip, I have a decade-older sister who got pregnant in her mid-twenties, and watching her deal (albeit gracefully) with two kids and some pretty disreputable guys has made my parents give me the “you have all the time in the world” spiel over and over again. My mother dotes on those kids, though, so I’m sure I would’ve had more pressure if I were an only.

    As a side note: the thing I’ve discovered in the last few years is that I’m just not into holidays. They’re about family, I guess, but when you’re disconnected from most of your family, except for the ones who live 3000 miles away, holidays just seem like any other day. (Has anyone listened to the episode of “This American Life” called Home Alone? I saw — somewhat scary — shades of myself in that.)

  • rakia

    slb: thanks. I’ve thought a lot about this topic. I’m glad you brought it up.

    shani-o & Redstar: About the “I’m so boring compared to the rest of my family” and “What I envy is the interest some of you say your families take in your life” thing. It’s all relative!

    For one, I bet my people are just easier to impress. :o )

    And two, while my family can get super-inquisitive, I rarely walk away feeling all that appreciated. Usually I feel like a specimen being poked at with a stick. Why? Because it’s exhausting to talk about yourself that much. But also I know that not *all* of the attention is genuine, fawning curiosity. Part of them wants to know if I’ve fallen on my face yet. And if so, how much did it hurt and can they see the scars. Years ago when I told my grandma I was moving to NY to make a name for myself, she said evenly, “Oh, you’ve got a lot of gumption.” In that one sentence, she says it all.

  • rakia

    shani-o: Nope, I’m not an only child. I have six younger siblings, most of whom are much younger. And Mom has one granddaughter. So her “let your ex-boyfriend impregnate you” thing is a headscratcher…though I could probably speculate for days on her thinking behind it.

    Also, I listened to the “Home Alone” ep of TAL, too! I was in my kitchen making dinner. Alone of course. It scared the bejesus outta me. At least I’m not a packrat.

  • Grump

    Rakia:
    Okay, now I realize that although I don’t share the same connection with my family as you have with yours, I can relate to your plight through my old church family. Given the dynamics of my upbringing, the people at my church were more like my family, than my parents’ folks actually were. And I remember having instances where i would be back on break and talking to the older folks who were interested in knowing the recent events of my life. While other were “just being nosey” with a few haters every now and then.

  • rakia

    “I remember having instances where i would be back on break and talking to the older folks who were interested in knowing the recent events of my life. While other were “just being nosey” with a few haters every now and then.”

    EXACTLY, Grump! The admirers and the haters are all mixed together.

  • Grump

    But does the mixture cause confusion as far as identifying who is with/against you?

  • quadmoniker

    When I was growing up, we had to swing by the houses of both my Dad’s mother’s (Mammaw) and Mom’s parents (Grandma and Grandpa). They both came from really big families so the house was always full of cousins, cousin’s children, second cousins, people we called cousins, and great aunts and uncles who didn’t move from the couches. There were never any tables and chairs, just paper plates and spots to claim. My mom had to secretly shuttle my Mammaw’s banana pudding to her father, because he liked it better than his wife’s. That hasn’t been true for years, especially because about half of each family, especially the connecting forces, are dead.

    Not to rain on everyone’s parade, but I desperately miss the questions that my relatives don’t understand the answers to. For the fourth year in a row, I will just stay in my apartment. Some years my friends and I do something, but some years it doesn’t work out. I always have a standing invitation to the homes of many friends but, as nice as they are, it’s just not the same. I’m pretending that I’m working to some who ask what my plans are. My mom will work then might swing by her sister’s house for leftovers. My sister was supposed to go to her boyfriends’ home, but decided instead to stay in her apartment in Denver and be sad. I told her that was ok.

  • Ralph H. Manningfield

    Given the fact that I was laid off a few months back and money is tight I was seriously considering picking up a few of those dollar Banquet turkey dinners. Luckily, the in-laws came to the rescue.

    I’ve never liked the big family holiday gatherings because of those awkward “I knew you when you were yay big” conversations. I usually have nothing to add to them because unfortunately I have no idea who in the hell I’m talking to. Perhaps I need a chaperone for these functions; someone to take me around and introduce me to all these strange people.

    Ironically enough, now that I’m getting older I’m finding myself doing the same thing. Damned hypocrisy!

  • I’ve had a million conversations about stuff like this with quad and you in the past, but it’s always jarring to think about how dramatically different our life experiences are from our families. (I’d be more candid, but moms be reading sometimes.)

    as always, I think you pretty much nailed this. Thanksgiving is a pretty big deal for my family, and we usually have anywhere between 30 and 45 people rolling through. Because of some serious family legal issues, I’ve been home to Philly a lot more often than I used to be in previous years. Because I was so seldom home before, my appearance at family events has always been something of a big deal, accompanied by lots of questions and let-me-get-a-good-look-at-yous. I work for one of the most well-known institutions in the country — which makes them unabashedly proud — and they would and still butcher the name all the time. (They’re not really news consumers.) They make fun of my vegetarianism, the fact that I pepper my speech with “son,” that I order in all the time and the fact that I walk most places or take cabs when they’re too far away. (These things are attributed, and not completely without merit, to my living in New York.)

    We were waiting silently in the car for my cousin for an hour and a half yesterday, and I switched on All Things Considered for five minutes before people got restless and said it was noisy and grating. NPR! These are people who listen to Michael Baisden as background noise when we drive, but they couldn’t take five polite, dispassionate minutes of Michele Norris and Robert Seigel.

    These are the people that raised me, but there’s very little we have in common in terms of our outlooks and our expectations. I can’t pinpoint exactly when that changed.

  • Ralph H. Manningfield

    Oh yes, yes GD. I’m with you on that NPR thing. I tend to listen to NPR alone in the car (Cali native), but when I have passengers I can sense their boredom. I cannot recall how many times I’ve been asked, “What in the hell are you listening to?” I respond “NPR.” Inevitably, they don’t recognize the acronym so I have to say reluctantly: “National Public Radio.” At that moment I can almost hear them whisper, “Pompous jackass” under their breath. Funny thing, it seems like every time I have a passenger in the car and NPR is on they are running a story about the aesthetics of sixteenth-century hand models or something crazy like that. I actually got my mother-in-law interested in “News and Notes,” well that was until they discontinued it in my area. I miss my Farai.

    And GD, 30-45 people! Damn, you should charge a cover! All kidding aside, have a Happy Thanksgiving man. That also goes for everyone else. It only comes once a year, so just hunker down and enjoy it. Even if it is a guilt-ridden day of conspicuous consumption.

  • Grump

    I, too, only listen to Mr. Baisden when I have my people in my car.

  • “Funny thing, it seems like every time I have a passenger in the car and NPR is on they are running a story about the aesthetics of sixteenth-century hand models or something crazy like that.”

    hilarious.

  • donutwhore

    i told my mom that thanksgiving was Rape and Massacre the Native Americans Day, and she looked and me and said, “go away.” lol

    i’m in prep-for-tomorrow phase right now and our kitchen table is covered with food, which is really retarded because it’ll probably only be the 5 of us eating a really uncomfortable meal together. then maybe we’ll go to the ranch to visit my mom’s side of the family, where i’ll have to talk about ny life, at which point i’ll be feeling like a pompous ass, even though they all probably make more than i do with my adjuncting/cat-shit-scrubbing gigs. (also, i’ll be the lone vegetarian picking at the potato salad while everyone is being a good texican eating their deep fried turkey and bbq chicken and fajitas and beans with bacon in them…could i *draw* more attention to my other-ness?). then i’ll go visit my dad’s side, where my grandma will keep asking me why i live so far away when it’s so expensive, and when i’m moving back home. sigh.

  • Zesi

    As much as we are theirs, we are also our own women. I’m very fortunate in that I have a very supportive family in terms of What I Do With My Life. I owe all my success to them, but I don’t owe them my life. Fortunately, they don’t ask for it. All this to say, you have a lot to be proud of. I wish to have accomplished as much as you have. There is a lot to say for refusing to stop dreaming and going after that dream, especially when you have actual talent.

    My holiday angst comes mainly from one thing: cleaning. SOMEONE (mother) always invites 800 people over, and this involves massive housecleaning. Mom does not believe in you resting while she is cleaning or cooking, which she inevitably will be. You have never ever been a neat person, and would’ve been made into glue or something more useful if you had been Cinderella. There’s lots of fussing involved. But the FOOD! oh!

  • verdeluz

    I have to come back and read all these comments later.. Right now I gotta get up and start cleaning my house, because.. ha! Because it needs cleaning. I have zero Thanksgiving angst because I am staying my ass right here. No guests, no cooking, no stress. I’ll pop over to my friend’s mom’s place later, but when *their* squabbling kicks in, I have the luxury of oh-look-at-the-time-I-gotta-go-don’t-wanna-miss-that-one-thinging it out of there.

    In another month.. well, at least I’m only there for 5 days. I don’t have to worry about extended family gatherings but for a grand total of 5 hours or so, which is great because I don’t care for/about hardly any of them, and the first couple of days with my family usually goes pretty well as long as my Dad doesn’t get drunk or too stressed out. Both turn him into a real asshole. Day 4 always seems to be the point where patience runs out. I like the freedom to get up and walk away that comes with- I don’t know, adulthood? Not sharing a continent?- but there’s only so long I can handle them, and to be fair, only so long they can handle my sarcasm and jackassedness. To the degree that I actively care, it *is* odd to have your family’s dynamic radically redefined- I’m clearly a guest in this way of life that has been built in my absence, and there’s always some unspoken negotiation of those waters, especially between the new wife (newer, wants peace, but, as Wife, official lady of the house) and I (senior member, also wants peace, but kind of a territorial bitch at heart). After having so many versions of family foisted upon me, avoiding sincerity and emotional attachment has become my MO, because who knows how long this one is gonna last?

    Oh, and the food is awful.

    I think I just blawged in the comments box. Pardon me.

  • Oh yes. My dad is unreservedly proud of me, but in a not-really-getting-it way that’s sometimes embarrassing. My mom’s proud, but it’s a pride shot through with a lot of envy. My dad’s wife is nice but clearly thinks I’m uppity as hell. I like where I’m from, but wouldn’t want to live there, and that whole tension between where I’m from and where I am now, mentally and socially speaking, just, ugh.

    And I totally chickened out and didn’t invite my mom and uncle for Tgiving tday because I suck.

  • melodikgirl

    lol. i enjoyed reading this. now i love, Love, LOVE seeing my family, but i do get tired of the questions i get asked at weddings, funerals, and holiday gatherings.

    top 5 questions i’m guaranteed to be asked:

    5–you’re STILL in school for music?
    4–soooooo you’re gonna just teach or what?
    3–opera????
    2–why don’t you have a boyfriend yet?
    1–so when DO you plan on getting married?

    which remnds me, i’ve noticed the dreaded interrogations pretty much stop after you have a baby. lol.

  • bleh

    Can’t get back to folks (either mine or his) this holiday cuz they are far, far away. Easier anyway. They sorta get what I do, but they are annoyed with my social outlook and outspokenness. So true about the interrogations and the spawn. A baby would give them something else (something they understand) to talk about.

  • ladyfresshh

    i missed this on the way to TG so i’m reporting on the aftermath

    frankly for the past 5 years TG has been a relaxing event the 40-50 relatives all gather and everyone else gets grilled while i chill and we all have jokes and watch movies and remark ironically on how the children’s room is filled with 40/30 and 20 year olds

    this year though i’ve felt the pull of obligation tha i haven’t in a long time
    my mom wanted me to come the night before to her house (sure!) and i would journey to the next borough (feels a continent away with the nyc subway system rego park to e. flatbush is NOT a joke) the next day to my aunt normal a 2 hour travel

    until my aunt hits me with I want to go to the parade…the same aunt that has put me up for the past 3 visits n DC whle i run around an barely see her the same aunt who i put up dibs on floor space for jan…she has a 3 year old…of course she wants to go to the parade…

    and then my sister could you pick me from grand central(pick you up?? i do’t have a car…)but she’ 6 months pregnant (ues ima be a auntie) so i can’t say no and apparently i’m going to be in the city anyways…at the parade

    all this to now confront later in the day the rest of my family…but it was a smaller crowd this year due to an accident (8 year old had a car accident so that’s 5 people right there and some had to work so that’s a few more)…and i got through it with out the usual…what do you do again…what do you shoot (*wince* i don’t im a researcher/editor/and now… buyer…but will again i think), no boyfriend/ no children…um no….masters…um ….not yet…no house?…er..no….maybe they’ve just given up…

  • Shannon

    I didn’t have to “deal” with going home for Thanksgiving this year, because I’m currently living in Japan, having taken one of those jobs that-in-no-way-resembles-anyone-else’s, right out of college. I have always had a tenuous relationship with Thanksgiving, though: I remember when I was young, Thanksgiving signaled the beginning of not only the holiday season, but my grandmother’s manic upswing, complete with knock-down, drag-out fights among her and my mother and my aunts. When I was about 8 or 9, my parents started making other arrangements for us–we would go to a family friend’s house, or go out of town and have a family-only celebration at a small inn up the coast. I was so grateful then, and continue to be grateful now, that my parents were able to see how much my siblings and I were growing to hate the holiday, and decided to make a change on our behalf (they benefitted too, no doubt).

    Now that I’m in that awkward transition time between being a child and being an adult, I am faced with a whole different set of strains around the holidays. This will be the second time I miss the holidays because I’m not living in the U.S. right now (two years ago, I was living in Dublin). The biggest secret? That although I might miss seeing them, and I might miss some of our holiday rituals, I am thoroughly enjoying the process of figuring out what these holidays mean to me, without all the drama and the questions and the tension and yes, the guilt. I have come to realize that I am going to have to deal with these relationships more directly, eventually, but in the meantime, I am savoring the freedom that comes with physical distance.

  • robynj

    This was…. wow. Sorry I missed it. I’m transitioning, I think, with my family. Like, there was a time when I’d plan my year around going home for the holidays, and prided myself on the frenzy of shopping for gifts, or being duped into cooking the whole dang meal while my mom painted the dining room (this really happened.). But I’m over it. My family is different now. I’m different. And really, I’m OK with not going home because it all feels so forced. Now that my siblings are older (2 teenagers, one 23 year old)… they can’t be bothered to do anything but stuff their faces when it’s time to eat so there’s no real feeling of family or togetherness. Plus, if there’s anyone there besides the six of us, my mom puts on a show. She has this desire to be… admired and envied so she goes on and on about this and that and it grates. So, for the 2nd year in a row, I opted out. Choosing instead to go to a friend’s house who was hosting. I’m opting out of Christmas too, but they don’t know that yet.

  • kaya

    just wanted to say hi and that i love this post. i’ve tried to respond to it about 30 times but people keep having babies. this was my 1. first thanksgiving away from my parents 2. first thanksgiving with the in-laws and 3. first african thanksgiving. there’s a lot to say but most of it i won’t. i will say that in a home where 4 of 6 women are doctors it’s interesting that our place is still expected to be the kitchen. and most are happy to oblige (or at least fake it well). not to say that an md should be an automatic get out of cooking free card, but it is interesting to say the least. it’s also interesting adjusting to the nuances of another family that is now your own family. with my own blood, i’ve had some of the same struggles that have been described above, but at least its the devil i know. i hate that phase in relationships where you are still navigating what is comfortable and how much of yourself you can really be around people. but hey the (physician-prepared) food was good.

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