Ruby

On Thanksgiving, my mom’s parents, her brother, and her brother’s family came to my house. My grandparents stayed in a hotel and my aunt, uncle, and cousins stayed with us. My little brother groaned when he heard this was the plan. The baby cousins annoy him.

When my grandparents arrived, they had presents for each of my siblings: tights for me, a toy for my brother, and, for my sister, a Hanna Andersson dress that at first I mistook for a giant onesie. It was black and shaped like a tube, with a rainbow of maybe six huge colored ruffles wrapped around.

“Remember?” my grandmother said. “You used to love Hanna Andersson clothes when you guys were little.”

My uncle and aunt arrived later with the two babies, a mattress, and tons of supplies for the babies and for the food, which my uncle would be cooking (the food, not the babies).

Everyone commented on how nice my newly black hair looked, and how tall my brother had gotten, how well my sister seems to be doing with her dancing, and what a great job my dad did with the new house.

Still wearing the new dress, my sister looked like a giant baby next to the regular-size ones she promptly picked up and declared babysittership over for the rest of the weekend. Nobody complained.

We sat down to eat, and everything was delicious. (I can’t vouch for the turkey, being a vegetarian, but it got positive feedback from everyone else.)

Everyone talks about how hard it is to spend the first holiday without someone who died. But I didn’t notice my mom’s absence that day as much as I do the rest of the time, doing regular things in our day-to-day life. These days our house feels empty and cold and depressing, but on Thanksgiving it was full of people who don’t have to miss her the way I do, because they didn’t live with her. They still seem full of life, and they almost made the house seem that way too. ♦