Monday, March 24, 2014

Scenes from the Holidays | Thanksgiving

Life has been moving so quickly lately. I realized I never even wrote about the holiday season so today, let's take a step back in time. As much as I love the West Coast, it was definitely nice to be back on the East Coast with family for the holidays. My grandma lives up on the Jersey Shore where my dad was born and raised so we made plans to go visit her and my uncle on Thanksgiving. It was a beautiful, beautiful day.

While my uncle was getting everything ready for Thanksgiving dinner, my dad, my grandma, and I ventured over to the perfect looking out point where I used to go when I was younger. On the crisp, sunny Fall day, we looked out at Manhattan's new skyline. The new One World Trade Center (on the left) stands tall above the Big Apple and it was so lovely to be standing there, a couple weeks after returning back from California.

We drove around the Shore, taking a drive down the beach my dad frequented as a kid. It was so sad to see how destroyed the area still was after Hurricane Sandy. Gas stations were still wiped out. Houses sat abandoned, their siding torn apart, windows missing. Beach clubs were still being rebuilt. You could feel the effect as you drove along the beach. It was still there in the air as lives were forever changed along with so much history.

When we got back to my grandma's house, I had some time to sit with her and talk. My grandma just turned 91 in January so her memory can sometimes be a little in and out. I explained to her how I had just moved back to the East Coast and that my dad and I (and my cat, Stella) had come up to visit for the day. Although I had to remind her a couple times, she would smile that beautiful smile of hers that gave me so much comfort.

I talked with her as we went through her wedding album and I saw pictures of her and my grandpa (who passed away when I was in high school.) She told me stories about her five children and the trouble my dad and uncle would cause :)

It was so wonderful to have that time with her. Especially since I don't have that time with my mother anymore and never met my other grandmother. It was just the two of us girls. Talking about family and careers and life.

Then, my dad took me out to the garage where I knew I'd find his old surfboards. His surfboards that are now worth a heck of a lot of money but don't worry - he'll never sell these bad boys. I just want him to fix them up and put them on display. My dad and his love for surfing are the reason I have always loved all things surf-related too. It's in my blood.

Eventually, the four of us sat down for dinner and had a couple glasses of wine. It was such a special feeling to have a glass of wine with my 90-year-old grandmother.

My great-grandparents immigrated to the U.S. from Poland so my grandma grew up in a Polish Catholic household. We sat and spoke some Polish for old times' sake and broke the bread.

I was sitting there in the dining room where I had dinner with both of my parents, my brother, and both of my grandparents when I was a little nine-year-old, on her way to New York for acting. The same dining room where I had spent Thanksgiving with my aunt and cousins when they were visiting from Australia. The same dining room where my father ate every meal growing up. And although it was a small meal, and there were only four of us around the table, I was just happy and blessed to be there.

It was a wonderful trip and a wonderful Thanksgiving. I look forward to going back again soon.


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