In my entire life, my family holidays have always been filled with people I’m not related to. Thanksgiving always had my mom and dad… and my step-dad, sometimes my grandmother, sometimes my grandfather and his partner (who was always a second grandmother to me), my step-father’s engineering professor from way back in the day, his wife (who was my Auntie Mame growing up), a variety of aunts and uncles that have no blood relation, but always turned up at every major holiday that my mother hosted.
As such, family always had a little bit of a weird flavor for me. Family isn’t comprised of the nuclear ideal of mom, dad, and 2.3 kids. Family has always been a weird, quirky array of people I’m not related to (except the ones that I am) but fill all of those important familial archetypes. It’s no wonder, then, that I acquire people who become part of my larger family. Despite being an only child, my mother only having one blood-relation sister, and my not knowing my father’s people at all, I have sisters and brothers and aunts and uncles and nieces and nephews aplenty.
I went to Sacramento to spend Thanksgiving with these people, my family. I brought my fiance and one of my sisters with me. My family had met the fiance the prior Thanksgiving, but not the sister, and in the way of my family, they welcomed both with open arms, as if they had always been part of the greater family, but just hadn’t met them yet.
On Thanksgiving and every day, that is the thing I am most thankful for: my weird, quirky family full of people I’m not related to (except the ones that I am) and their complete willingness to open the door for one more or two more or a dozen more people to become part of our family.