Two years ago, my dad’s side of the family got together at my aunt and uncle’s house for Thanksgiving. I don’t have any photos from that year. My immediate family was dealing with a ton at the time, from Morrigan’s medical release from boot camp, to buying a new house and prepping the old one to sell. We had no idea that everything was about to change. My aunt and uncle’s house had just gone on the market, too, and by Christmas, they had moved out to live in a temporary apartment and couldn’t host the family gathering. We’d just moved into our new house and still had boxes everywhere, and couldn’t host the family, either. There was nowhere big enough for the whole of us to gather (picture below is the family at Christmas in 2018), so we simply didn’t have a big Christmas gathering. And then covid hit.
I haven’t seen a large chunk of my extended family in two years – specifically aunts, uncles, and cousins. We didn’t know what the plan would be this year, if there would be any gathering at all given that we’re still in a pandemic, even though numbers in our area are very low at present. Happily, my aunt and uncle decided to host Thanksgiving this year. There were rules, though – my aunt’s family would be there in addition to my (blood) uncle’s side, and her mother and aunts are elderly and vulnerable. The rule was that everyone in attendance must be fully vaccinated to protect them. No hard feelings if you weren’t and couldn’t come, no pressure either way, just a group that had to be protected. I do have several aunts who have decided against the vaccine, so unfortunately, I still have yet to see them. But I did at least get to see some of the family. It felt nice to have a family gathering again this year.
I didn’t make the mistake of not taking photos this year. In fact, I brought my nice camera with me, and not only did we get some family portraits, I got a lot of nice impromptu shots and environmental photos. For the most part, though, I kept the camera away and just enjoyed being with family. We watched football and drank wine or cocktails and chatted about college or cats and ate way too much food. My aunt and uncle’s new house has part of the city’s trail system directly behind it, so Jason and Ambrose went on a walk down the trail to a rock-climbing wall. They expected to find a manmade rock climbing wall. Instead, it was an actual sheer rock wall, with anchors for belays and everything. Even without equipment, my spider-child – the one who used to stand on windowsills at 18 months old – scrambled right up…
It was a nice night. We were meant to finish it off with a fireside night at my dad and stepmom’s house, but Laurence wasn’t feeling well. He’s allergic to milk and eggs, and this was his first year of dealing with that allergy in a group environment. He ate the mashed potatoes, which were full of butter and milk, and probably had some further contamination from other foods. Poor guy. So we took him home instead.
The rest of the week was nice, too. We did see King Richard, which the rest of my family loved and I thought was okay but not my favorite. On Monday, I had the follow-up visit to the concerning mammogram, and it turned out to be nothing (more cysts!), so there was no more worry about that. I spent a lot of time prepping my 2022 goals and journals. We watched the Macy’s parade pre-Thanksgiving festivities, and on Friday, we put up the Christmas decorations.
Unfortunately, we had a bit of a disaster with the decorations this year. One of our snow globes broke sometime in storage, and the water inside seeped into an entire box of stuff. We lost some things – including all of our custom stockings (mine dated back to the mid-90s!) – as well as most of the packaging that kept the other snow globes safe while packed away. All things considered, though, we didn’t lose TOO much. Our actual tree ornaments are kept in a separate packing system, so those were fine, and we were able to decorate for Christmas without buying too much in replacement. Of course, the kittens are scattering the ornaments and lights every chance they get…ha! We actually bought that metal tub thing to go around the bottom of the tree just to try to discourage them from climbing up it. Yeah, that didn’t work. Heh. But, you know, we’ve dealt with kittens and Christmas trees many years now, and the big thing is that we just don’t put any of the fragile or priceless or very old ornaments up, or any ornaments they can pull apart and possibly eat/choke on. By next year, they’ll be better.
Yeah, you heard that right. By next year. Because these three are firmly bonded to each other now, and very attached to two of our permanent residents, and they’ve lived with us for five months now, since they were eight weeks old. It would be cruel to put them into a shelter situation, or to separate them. We have no resources to help them get adopted, much less adopted together, so this week, Jason and I decided that we’re just going to have to let them stay. So we have seven resident cats now – something no one actually wanted or planned for, but hey, that’s life, right? If people can have seven kids, we can have seven cats…