The Home Team Advantage

    Twenty-one people. Ten pounds of potatoes. Two turkeys. Wine in almost every color and flavor imaginable.
    But it’s over and no one cried. Well, there was a minor meltdown over the chocolate cake, but I swear it wasn’t me. And the poor 3-year-old who was at eye-level with a triple chocolate mousse cake cannot be blamed for getting upset after being repeatedly told she can’t have any just yet.
    It was a hectic, but fun get-together that included family and friends. Spending time with my family, including two of my three siblings, reminded me to give thanks for my family. My loud, funny, generous, and smart family.
    We were not raised with material excess, but there was always money for books. My parents worked hard, but there was always time for a trip to the library. There were difficult times, but there were more water balloon fights, hide-and-seek games (usually in a dark house, for extra adrenaline), camping trips, practical jokes, and games of all sorts, than I could ever count. I am thankful that my parents raised their four children to value education at all stages of life and nurtured our intellectual curiosity. That they taught us to find the laughter in any bad situation.
    What I value most, though, that they raised us to be a team — to look out for each other. I think that couldn’t have been an easy thing to accomplish with four kids whose ages span a decade. Somehow, they did it. I knew my two older brothers were always looking out for me, just as I was keeping an eye on my younger sister.
    These instincts don’t fade over time. Now, instead of looking out for each other in the halls of the high school, we’re there for each other after job losses and divorces and other grown-up issues. There is some bond that develops after years of exchanging promises not to tell mom and dad. It’s a bond that outlives the mutually assured destruction of sharing and keeping those secrets.
     Of course, it would be a terrible breach of tradition to have my brother stay for the weekend and not short-sheet his bed. Or not to needle my sister about her love-life. Or for them to not tell the story — yet again — about how I wrecked my parents’ car on the way back from the garage where it was being repaired after my first accident.
    This Thanksgiving, I’m thankful that these wonderful people are my family and are on my team.

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