Sludging Through the Grit of Human Essence

This Thanksgiving will be different.
Perhaps the first time ever
That at least some portion
Of family will be absent
From the table.

We will be in town
Convening with friends instead—
Something I’ve always wanted
To be able to experience.

Years past, while we
Juggled car seats and strollers
At crowded gates
Waiting to board planes
To sit crammed among
The coughing and the
“Big-boned” spilling elbows
Over tiny armrests into my ribs,
Sister has often related
How she is bringing over
These sides and
Even the turkey, once,
To her neighbor’s
Across the street.

I’d like to wake up,
Be able to
Roll out of my own bed,
Celebrate good health
And a day off from regular life
To run a 4-mile race
With 10,000 other people
Under a cool but bright and dry
Colorado sky and then
Walk over to my neighbor’s house
Bringing sides and wine to share
Like we are going to do,
This one year, at least.

Parents don’t live
Forever, of course, so
Making a point of
Spending holidays with them
In addition to making other visits
Must occur most years.

One day,
Parents won’t be around
To have to travel to see,

But this year,
With Daughter making the
Day-long trek from Maine,
We will all be together at home.

After all,
Daughter, then Son too,
Will one day have a job
And be involved in
Relationship(s) that may prove
More compelling and
Thus won’t always be
Available to spend this holiday
With us either,

Such is spending days
Moving through this planet—
Kids growing up,
Everyone getting older and
Wiser, hopefully

Sludging through joyful and
Painful passages alike,
For there will be both
With varying lengths, intensity
And some occurring simultaneously
Or overlapping
And mixed together

To form the grit
Of human essence.



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