November with You
The sun peeks through the shades in our bedroom and warms his face. He stirs, his face tilted towards me. As he moves, something stirs in me too.
Deep love. Deep gratitude.
Gratefulness for another morning, another opportunity to tell him I love him. For warmth and a safe place for us to rest.
I’m often amazed when I drop into gratitude, by how profound a feeling it is. It has magical properties, I think. It has the ability to take something simple and ordinary and inflate it to something incredible. Majestic even. The simple transforms, welling up emotion in our chest, bringing tears to the eyes; it transforms and we are left with a feeling, an emotional state, that is as real and significant as the moment that inspired it. All because we slowed down, and noticed.
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Growing up, my parents would pack up the car with blankets, suitcases, pillows, the dog – everything and anything to make a nine-hour drive more comfortable – and we would head North. As a Californian, there was never much of a noticeable difference between summer and winter, but the drive through colorful wine country always brought us a comforting sense of holiday cheer. And change.
I always seemed to grow during November. Perhaps it was mingling with my older cousins, listening to them talk about their lives and how they were changing, which influenced growth in me too. The first time I ever held a condom in my hand, my cousin Tamara and I broke into her older sister’s room and stole it from her bedside table. It felt different than I had expected, taking it from the wrapper; firmer, and a bit slimy. I felt exhilaration at knowing what I hadn’t known.
As adults, Thanksgiving continues to evolve. Grandparents have passed on. Our parents are older and less inclined to cook a big meal. Siblings and cousins have spread out across the world. And yet, there is a familiar feeling to this time of year.
My partner opens his eyes and smiles at me. I snuggle in closer, silently negotiating with the rising sun for a few more minutes under the covers. We will be hosting our families together for the first time this year and we’ve prepared our small dining room for laughter, connection, and plenty of food. I wonder what it will be like to have our lives joined, our families blended. I wonder about the ways I’ll grow.
Whatever happens, there is so much to be grateful for.