Day 2: (Family) ReunionHappy Second Day of Thanks Everyone!
Author: Melissa Barber
I hope you all are enjoying your Thanksgiving (Aka Anti-Imperialist Day Celebration) with family and friends. I didn’t cook for my house since I am in Orlando, Florida this year so make sure that all of you are saving me and Lilah some leftovers so that we can have something to eat when we get home (please!).
Today, I am giving thanks for the blessing of reuniting/seeing my family members who I haven’t physically seen in about four or five years. With technology, we have been able to converse by phone and see each other with a webcam, but, we haven’t been in each other’s physical presence for a long minute.
My sister moved her family from New York to Florida about eight years ago in search of heat for her arthritic joints, new job opportunities, and a better life for her and her children. In those years, my nephew got married, started military service, made me four (yes, I said 4!) beautiful grandnieces and nephews, and just recently got divorced. My sister changed careers and moved to Texas for a short stint (which she hated) and just recently moved back to Florida. My niece, a co-Ms. Diva with Delilah, has grown into a beautiful young lady who is about to finish high school, has her heart set on being a forensic psychologist and has a small business/side hustle in manicures and pedicures.
While I wasn’t mad at my sister for making her move to Florida (the NYCHA projects on Story Ave in the Bronx started taking a turn for the worse!), my daughter and I have missed them terribly. My daughter and niece are literally born two or three weeks apart so they have been raised almost like sisters; basically, they are and have been best buddies forever. [Lilah asks for her “NeeNee” all the time.] Since my sister was a teenage mom and we all pitched in to help her raise my nephew, I had a huge role in my nephew’s life as well. The great thing about being an intercessor (prayer warrior) for your family is that no matter where they are in distance, you know exactly what is happening with them. God’s eye will never fail and will reveal everything you need to know.
In the latter years of our lives, I guess with wisdom and a little bit of life experience, my sister and my relationship has grown deeper and wider. We’ve learned the grind of taking care of an entire family as single parents. We know what it is like when you are hard pressed for money and bills are due. We have learned what it’s like to want to protect and shield our children from the outside world, but still feel the pain of seeing them get hurt anyway. We’ve been burned a time or two by men and have still kept pressing. Despite all odds against us, we both got educational degrees with some honors under our belt. Perseverance, resilience, and fight have been our second names throughout our life’s stories. I also forgot to mention that we are both one of those holy rollers who will buck up if we need too and don’t tolerate much foolishness! So, through shared experiences, we have learned to get along really well and are a constant in each other lives (even though we didn’t start out that way), no matter how far away in distance we are.
When my daughter said that she wanted to see NeeNee and auntie for her birthday present, I went for broke to oblige. (My spirit was also telling me that I needed to get to Florida to set some things in order.) I decided that it was time to head south for Thanksgiving to lay my eyes on my sister and her clan. There were some grand nieces and nephews that I still have never laid hugs and kisses on—and they are real cute!–and that so needed to change. I also felt in my spirit that there was some serious mending and consoling, naturally and spiritually, that needed to be done in my family. (Before I got here, the Holy Spirit revealed some things to do for one of my grandnephews and I needed to make sure that it was accomplished.)
Lilah and I made it to Orlando, Florida yesterday afternoon and were so happy to strip down to sandals and t-shirts. I’m all about getting more naked in the heat because I love hot weather! (Now if God could just turn NY into the tropics that would definitely be a prayer answered.) We went food shopping with my sister and niece for the last ingredients to get for Thanksgiving dinner. My sister’s children are some rare breeds; they are so finicky about food! (They are black children with roots from the south and talking ‘bout they don’t like foods like yams and stuffing. My sister and I just look at them side-eyed and say “more for us!’) We also had to make a run to the Dollar Tree because my sister’s Christmas tree needed a hope and a prayer. It was so bare and the grandchildren were begging to see it decorated so I made sure that they were obliged. My sister and I also wanted to make sure they had some crafts to do while they were with us. (I’m so excited to see them!)
My nephew came over for a little bit and we joked and laughed like old times. My nephew had a black eye because a day or two earlier he had intervened to protect a homeless man who was being terrorized and beaten almost to unconsciousness by a group of young people on the street just for laughs. (There are people who do such evil to homeless folks for no reason!) We are all grateful that my nephew is alive. (I was told that the homeless man was taken to the hospital.) My nephew told jokes about his children mocking him and his children’s ghetto fabulous friends.
We had a great time.
I spent all night getting the side dishes ready. My poor sister works a 3 or 4 am beat at her job and was so tired that she fell to sleep on the couch. I decided to prepare as much of the Thanksgiving meal as possible, while I was getting Lilah’s food done, so that she could continue resting. I prepared the collard greens, the macaroni and cheese, and the yams and all of Lilah’s food before my feet started to let me know that we were going to fight if I stood any longer.
The apartment nostalgically smelled like a home (just the way I love it!) and I had my niece keep an eye on the food while I came to type this day of our journey of thanks.
I so missed my family and catching up on all the happenings that I didn’t know had occurred. As dysfunctional as my family may be at times (don’t trip because even if you are in the business of fascading yours, I know it’s still dysfunctional in its own way), I am so grateful for the times that we spend with each other laughing and loving, real deep and real wide.
Today, I’ve decided not to highlight an organization. I want you to just spend this day loving and laughing with the people who are your family. (Family is not just biological, it’s who you choose to do life with.) I’m sure that you are going to have a ghetto fabulous time laughing until you almost pee on yourself like we do it in my family. If you don’t shoot me an email and I’ll prepare a feast for you to sit with my family to make sure you laugh like we do.
Have a Great Day of Thanks!