Emma June Grosskopf

Usually, my Thanksgivings involve me participating in several classic Emma-Around-the-Holidays activities: avoiding cranberry sauce like the plague it is, breaking the cork into the most expensive bottle of wine I can find and trying to contain the excitement that, as soon as Thanksgiving is over, I can start celebrating the Christmas season loudly and proudly (and pretending that I haven’t been listening to Christmas music for a month already. Oops).

This year though, I’m feeling a little differently about it.

It’s not just one of those big family gatherings where there’s a lot of talking about people who aren’t there and stressing over the food.

And it’s not just a brief stop on the road to Christmas-Ville.

I actually have a lot to be thankful for.

Not that I haven’t in the past, but I guess I always took it for granted because my family, what I’m most thankful for, was always there. I can call my mom up whenever I want to tell her about my day. I can text my dad and ask for his help with my computer. I can send my little brother pictures that remind me of him.

When I go back to Fredericksburg to celebrate the holiday, it’s going to feel a little bit different, I think. Less like a vacation from my college classes like it did when I was a student and more like a homecoming to people that care about me.

I’m going to see a lot of extended family at Thanksgiving that I haven’t really talked to since I moved here at the beginning of October. They’re going to want to know about what I’ve been doing, and I’m going to be more than happy to tell them about my new life here in Hampshire County.

I’ll tell them about my new job and friends. I’ll tell them about how I knocked on the wrong door when I was trying to find Gary and Kaye Strawn’s house. I’ll tell them about Bear Spirit Mountain. I’ll tell them about the mice under my sink and my jerry-rigged solution. I’ll tell them about Juanita Timbrook, a new friend of mine, and how I cut my finger in her kitchen on Sunday and bled all over the instructions to her new vegetable slicer.

I’ll tell them so much that they will probably want me to go back to West Virginia and leave them alone.

These are all experiences that I am thankful for this year, and I think that it’s going to be more important now than ever for me to just stop and be grateful that I have a family to share these stories with. I know I joke around a lot about things like bugs in my apartment or driving on Rt. 50, but I really am thankful. For everything.

And this year, I’m going to stop for a moment and act like it.

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