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I drove eight (8) hours for dinner today. While I am weary and a little stiff, it was worth it. There is something sacred about our traditions. They bind us and make us family.

My grandmother, Claudia, has been in a coma since Mother's Day. Unless you believe in movies, like Soul Food, it is incredibly unlikely that she will ever come out of it. After she went into the coma, we lost our identity. However, this Thanksgiving we discovered that we remain a family.

No one can fill my grandmother's shoes so no one tackled the entire meal. We divided the tasks and dishes. While equitable, it would not have been tolerated in in Claudia's kitchen. However, now as we struggle to define ourselves, we make our own rules.

Even though we missed her presence and her skill, the collaboration united us and strengthened us. No one was shouldering the burden alone. Each family contributed. By sharing the burden we made it light.

As each dish was added to the table a new definition of family was born. One may have been too salty. Another may have been too sweet, but in the end, the meal was just right. Because as my cousin who requested to host Thanksgiving so astutely understood, it had never been about the food. It had always been about family. And that was something to be thankful for.
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