As I have the past few years, I was down in San Diego for Thanksgiving. My grandma lives there and she cannot travel, so the rest of us come to her to celebrate. And again, my parents rented a house that was big enough for a good chunk of my family to stay in so I didn’t really have to worry too much about planning for the trip.
I ended up going down after I was done with work on Tuesday. I know traffic could be potentially bad so I was prepared to spend a long time in my car. I had to make a quick stop first to pick up some pies I was bringing with me, but it was technically on the way so it wasn’t that much of a detour for my trip. With no traffic, it’s about 2 hours to get to San Diego. But there was one time (not Thanksgiving but another holiday) where it was over 7 hours to get there. But somehow there really wasn’t too much traffic when I was driving and it was under 3 hours to get there. And I arrived just in time to see a gorgeous sunset.
The next day, I started by having to work one of my jobs for a few hours but it was before much was happening at the house. And once I was done working, I grabbed my Kindle and went outside to read. It was pretty hot so I was hanging out in the shade. But I wanted to take advantage of the amazing view that we had from the house.
That evening was my grandma’s birthday party. Even though we had stuff planned every day, the trip was pretty lazy and I didn’t have to do too much at all. It was nice to have time to relax and I definitely took advantage of that.
On Thanksgiving, I had my workout with my family and then I tried to help my mom get everything ready for dinner. We’ve found that it’s actually much easier to make most of the stuff we eat in advance so there wasn’t a ton that had to be cooked. But I did help get the table ready with the plant/place cards I made and decorated with the photos that my mom had printed out.
Everyone loved the plants, especially after we explained the meaning behind them. And it was so fun having family photos on the table because we were all checking them out and remembering when those photos were taken. And while the kid’s table didn’t have photos, they did have their plants and I think they were able to entertain themselves.
It was a bit stressful for my mom to do dinner again, but it turned out amazing! All the food was so good and getting to spend time with almost all of my family is something that I know I am lucky to get to do. It’s nice that we do this every year and that we know this tradition will continue.
After dinner we cleaned up and then things were pretty casual. We were mainly hanging out as a family in the living room and my cousin’s kids were entertaining us. It was the perfect way to spend the evening.
The day after Thanksgiving I had to spend the morning working but for most of the time I was working in the kitchen so I was around everyone. My great-aunt, great-uncle, and second cousin came by later and when they arrived I ended up finishing my work shift in the room I slept in. But I was done about an hour after they arrived so I didn’t miss out on too much family time.
I spent most of that afternoon outside with my grandma. My cousin’s kids were playing in the pool and my grandma and I were watching them. And Tucker seemed to be very focused on them too.
My grandma has some memory issues, but she was having some pretty good days while I was there. So we were talking about the pool that she had at her old house and how all the grandkids loved to play in it. We were always in the pool whenever we were visiting them. And my grandma loved to see kids playing in the pool and having fun. My cousin and her kids aren’t in San Diego that often, so I know my grandma appreciates the time that she does have with them.
And no family gathering would be complete without a game of backgammon. My grandma is amazing at the game and my grandpa used to say that she was a witch because she can always get the roll she needs. She struggled a bit with the game, but she still managed to beat my cousin by getting all the doubles that she needed to come back in the end to win!
As much as I would have liked to have stayed longer, I did have to get back to LA so I could get ready for the next day. I left just before dinnertime and was lucky again that traffic wasn’t that bad. But to get to spend 4 days with my family is something that I know not everyone can do so I’m glad that my schedule and jobs allow me to do that.
The next time we will all be together will be Thanksgiving next year. I’ll see my immediate family before that (and hopefully my grandma too), but to get everyone in the extended family is a once-a-year thing. But that’s ok because we seem to maximize the time we have together.