This is what happens when you get behind on posts; too much to catch up on…
I had this great idea for my birthday: get together with everyone who has been a best friend of mine since the age of six, most of whom have never met each other, and do lunch at a retro diner followed by billiards. The billiards fell through, but lunch was fantastic–it was just splendid to see everyone. Then the next night, I went for dinner and coffee with my best friend and his girlfriend, and we had a nice tussle about religion, and the night after that, I went out for sushi with my parents and had a nice, long talk, so I’m feeling very well-loved. I’d really been dreading this birthday, but I’m starting to realize I’m really going about things all wrong; I’m actually in a decent position to take more risks, have more adventures right now. Instead of fretting that I don’t have it all figured out yet, I should be doing things like getting my driver’s licence and applying to odd programs that interest me.
Thanksgiving at my aunt and uncle’s was fantastic as usual, and though I was sad not to see osewalrus or beckyfeld, it was wonderful to spend the time with mabfan and gnomi, my sort-of cousins. (Actually my father’s brother’s son’s wife’s sister and her husband. There must be some formal kinship term, but I’ve yet to find it. But lovely people whom I’m very glad to have as friends and even gladder to have as relatives, even tangentially.) And my cousin and brother made a real feast, with wonderful turkey and all the trimmings, plus amazing, garlicky homemade pickles. Yum.
Thanksgiving weekend also marked the 30th anniversary of my grandmother’s death. She died two years before I was born, and I wish I’d had the chance to meet her. My mother hosted a kiddush after services at their synagogue, and read some of her poetry and prose about how her relationship with her mother has continued to evolve long after her mother’s death. My brother and I also got an aliyah together in her honor; I’ve never had an aliyah with him before and that was just really special for me. But for me, the part of the yartzeit that had the most impact was that my mother showed me a four-page family history her mother had written in her final months, recounting the history of her own mother and grandmother. Some pieces I’d already known, but others were surprising, and some of the connective tissue made for speculation that would have done Bronte proud. What my grandmother had chosen to emphasize showed a lot about who she herself was and what was important to her: her mother showed great courage at a very young age, and her grandmother was the village’s herbal healer, known for her wisdom. It was wonderful to read, and very special to share that with my mom.