Autumn 2020/A Thanksgiving

Hello.

Sorry to leave you on a cliffhanger after my non-stop election coverage. I trust that you know who won at this point.

Here’s a scene from our backyard on the day the election was called for Biden:

Unfiltered.

During the election, the level of posting I was doing was aligned with the level of news I was reading. Keeping up with the news, then doing a post. As someone who’s more of a long-form kind of guy, it was….exhausting.

The election made me feel super-connected to the outside world. Since my world has recently become very, very small, it was sort of a shock to the system.

My day-to-day consists of caring for two small people during the day, and then my wife when she gets home. My week-to-week is slightly larger than that. All of a sudden, I had to care about Brad Raffensperger.

We had a small Thanksgiving, just the four of us. The kids were fine with it; not a question was asked. Helena doesn’t have much to compare this year to yet. Oriana’s primary concern was seeing how many canned cranberries she could eat.

But adults live a life within context -we know what Thanksgiving is supposed to be. We’re supposed to be greeted at the door. We’ll have overpacked and will look slightly ridiculous. Dinner will feel like being fussed over; a luxury. After dinner, we’ll get in a walk, cold air in a city I still don’t know very well, except for the few blocks we do every visit. Back at the house, I’ll fall asleep on the couch. In the morning we can sleep in, as long as Emma’s folks offer to take the girls when they wake up. Any chance, really, to steal some sleep. It’ll feel like Thanksgiving.

Still, I wonder if, years from now, Helena will recall this year and think: “gee, remember that year we stayed home for Thanksgiving? That was the best!” We walked around our neighborhood, wishing our neighbors a happy thanksgiving. We baked together; we made the food we wanted. The timeline was our own. It felt like: A Thanksgiving.

These days it’s easy to feel two ways about things, and for that to be ok. I say this as someone who has previously struggled with ambivalence: I’ve been guilty of being an all-or-nothing kind of guy, in some past life.

These days I know better; if lunch time is a disaster, dinner will be good.

We’ll focus on dinner time.

A Thanksgiving (in visual form)

I’m thankful to live in Upstate New York, particularly when we get a proper autumn. This year, summer’s humidity gave way long before the snow. The leaves held on a little longer than the past few years.

This was the most beautiful tree in our area, just one neighborhood over.

It stayed about this color for a week. We passed it every day on our daily walk to the park. Toward the end, it felt like a friend.

Here’s another one from our walks.

Here’s Ori during a trip to the Empire State Plaza. It was windy.

And here’s Ori with a very familiar look on her face.

When the leaves did fall, it wasn’t all at once, but it did happen in gusts.

They came, lifted up from the trees, silent. Falling arrows turning to friendly letters.

I am thankful for Helena, who is reminding me what it was like to discover fun.

I am thankful for Oriana, who lets me watch her learn something new every day, and sometimes lets me teach her.

And I am thankful that they love each other.

I am thankful for Emma, who makes all things possible (and who I won’t share too many pictures of, lest I embarrass her).

I am thankful that we had a proper Halloween this year. Most folks left candy near their door with a sign, “Please take one,” or even better: “Take as many as you want.” One couple who we see on our evening walks left bags specially marked for the girls: One for “Sparkle Girl” (because Helena was always wearing her shimmering jacket) and one for “Ariana.” It was sweet.

She was a mouse and the rest of us were cats. Emma’s got a sick sense of humor sometimes.
First pumpkin I’ve carved in a while. It came out good!
This was the moon on Halloween night. A blue moon.

I am thankful that we are together for this.

Helena and I made a pie! It was pretty good!
This kid has really, really big hands.

Until next time. Maybe it will come sooner than this time.

M

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