As Thanksgiving approaches on an annual basis, I naturally tend to find myself reflecting on everything I have to be grateful for. Last year, during my pandemic-laden freshman experience, I spent my first college Thanksgiving away from home. Although I was with friends I had met just a few weeks before, we shared a sense of home among each other. From making cranberry sauce in a noodle pot to baking a pie in the Carmichael Hall kitchen and commiserating over the sad state of the university-issued turkey, we made the best out of a less-than-ideal situation.
This year, as I headed home for the holiday, I looked forward to reuniting with my dogs, sleeping in my bed and eating home-cooked meals. Yet, Thanksgiving 2021 marked a transitional time for my family as we planned to move out of my childhood home, the place in which we have lived for the last 17 years.
In preparation for the move, we went through cabinets, closets and drawers, storing memorabilia and throwing out junk. As we packed up the house, it was almost as if we bid farewell to a member of our family; each room, hallway and table marked the setting of our recent family history. This past Sunday, when it came time for me to head to the airport for my flight, I exited my bedroom for the last time and essentially shut the door on a chapter of my life.
For me, most interim points in life evoke feelings of nostalgia. Each corner of our home is filled with memories as far back as my mind can dig up. Looking out into the backyard, I can recall countless summers of long hours spent with friends in the pool. Although it no longer stands, I fondly remember the zipline from which my brother and I would zip, from one palm tree to the next, clenching the handle tightly as we sped across the yard. Yet, as I look toward the future, I remind myself that memories are held within oneself and a home is only a home because of the people that comprise it.
Amid the holiday season, I find it important to ground myself in everything I have to be grateful for. While each corner of this earth holds a separate, special place in different people’s hearts, we all carry legacies within ourselves and our loved ones.