Thanksgiving has always been when the Northcutt side of the family got together for the year. My dad’s parents were kind enough to separate Thanksgiving out for the family, leaving Christmas for in-laws and other family times. I didn’t grow up near them so my Northcutt Thanksgiving tradition started when I was 18, twelve years ago. Since our tradition started, it has been a rare occurrence to have Thanksgiving ON Thanksgiving day. Instead we generally have it on Saturday due to work schedules and timing.
As the grandchildren have all grown up, moved away, and started making families of their own, it has been difficult to get the entire family together all at once. The last time we all got together was in 2009, just after Madilyn was born. Since then, my Dad and my wonderful step-mom have rekindled their relationship, my cousin Ashley and his wife had another baby and Kyle and I added Grady to the family.
It was the very last time that we would all be together. My grandma (Mamom) passed away 3 days before Grady was born on March 4, 2011. It was extremely sudden and I was unable to make it to the funeral because I was in the hospital having a baby. That was devastating and very difficult for me.
I missed Thanksgiving last year because my sister and I were fighting and I didn’t want to make things awkward. I am the world’s worst faker. If I can’t say anything nice, I don’t say anything at all but I shoot you dirty looks all day long. As it were, Kyle had to work and that was just even more of an excuse for me not to go alone. Plus I was nearing my final trimester of pregnancy and I didn’t want to be alone on the road with my 14 month old daughter and 9 year old without my husband.
It is a decision that I regret making.
When Mamom passed away, I hadn’t seen her in 1.5 years, but I did talk to her a couple of times every month. That is still no consolation for my missing Thanksgiving last year.
My Papa decided to bury my Mamom’s ashes the weekend of Thanksgiving so that the whole family could be there. I knew that even if Kyle couldn’t get off of work, I was going to go to Tallahassee come hell or high water for Thanksgiving this year. Luckily, Kyle was able to get Saturday off so that we could all be together.
With a 5 hour drive ahead of us, and only ONE day to spend with my family, we woke up early and headed out without grabbing breakfast.
Luckily for us, there is a Murphy Express on our way out of town. Not only do they have the best gas prices in Pooler, they have a clean store and LOTS of snacks, breakfast items, and COFFEE. I have fun taking pictures in there. People think I’m nuts.
Kyle pumped gas while I went inside to grab some stuff for everyone to eat. I noticed the $0.99 Medium coffee on the door and made a mental note to grab medium coffees before I left the store. I decided to treat the kids to some donuts, chocolate milk, and fresh fruit (the fruit cancels the donuts out, right?). I also grabbed them some Cheez-Its and Teddy Grahams to snack on when they woke up from their naps. I got myself some hard boiled eggs and a banana, and Kyle some cheese. Of COURSE I got coffee and also a gallon of water. This mama needs to drink! Murphy Express had a fantastic selection of food and drinks for us to choose from.
Everyone loved their snacks and I am SO glad that Murphy Express carries things that his Cavewoman can eat.
Once we got on the road we were a little later than we had anticipated but we were just thankful to be on our way.
As it were, Papa had scheduled a little service to bury Mamom’s ashes for the Friday following Thanksgiving. Because of Kyle’s work schedule, we missed it but I decided to take time to walk to her site to visit after we ate lunch.
When we got to Tallahassee, I was disappointed to find out that one of my cousins and his wife couldn’t make the trip due to one of their fur babies being extremely ill. My other cousin, his wife, and their two kids had to leave early because their neighbor’s house got broken into and they wanted to get home to their home. And my uncle didn’t make it either. I was extremely disappointed in all of the people missing and I still feel like a louse for not being able to make it to Mamom’s funeral.
Dinner wasn’t the same without the entire family there, but it wouldn’t have been the same regardless, with Mamom missing from her spot at the foot of the table. And with my limited time with family, I didn’t get to take any pictures. I was just grateful for the time that we were all able to squeeze in. Even if my cousins were rooting for Alabama. (WAR EAGLE!)
After we ate, Kyle, Dad, Laura, and I walked to Mamom’s headstone. It is a pretty walk, one that my sister, cousins and I used to balk at. Now I wish we had enjoyed those walks more. It was extremely emotional and brought back many memories. During my labor with Grady, I smelled this strong scent of orange that reminded me of this ride at EPCOT called Horizons. It isn’t there any longer but it was always my favorite because of the delicious smell. At that same time, a song game on my relaxing labor soundtrack that sounded like EPCOT music. I couldn’t contain my emotions and rode a few contractions on an emotional high. I knew at that point that she was there with me, cheering me on.
It was a difficult Thanksgiving and awkward. Death is so strange to me. Of course it’s permanent but doesn’t feel that way when someone close to you whom you don’t see every day passes away. It doesn’t feel quite real. As though the idea has not solidified, or that I’ll see her again next Thanksgiving.
But for now, I am thankful that my Papa is still alive, healthy, and well. I am thankful for my parents (all 6 of them). I am thankful for my hard working husband (despite my complaints about his work). I am thankful for my smart, healthy, stunning children. And I am thankful for all of the people in my life who have touched me in a positive way.
This Thanksgiving may have been emotionally difficult, but I am grateful to have been able to go. I look forward to next Thanksgiving and am hoping that all of my cousins and aunts & uncles are able to attend.
How was your Thanksgiving? What are your family traditions?
This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias. #CBias All experiences and thoughts are my own and were not influenced in any way