The nerf gun bullets flew over us at the table as we discussed what it was like to live in Moscow. We laughed at pictures of my brother-in-law mid squat, lifting 185 pounds at Crossfit. My nephews squealed and I think I heard my mother jump into the nerf game for at least 10 minutes, pelting the 9 year old so hard he shouted, “hey that’s not fair!”
Thanksgiving is not a quiet affair at my house, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. I have occasionally shared Turkey Day with just folks my own age, and though the meals are calmer, conversation easier to follow, and more adult jokes shared over wine, nothing compares to a multi-generational Thanksgiving.
Maybe it’s the games. Maybe it’s the reminder that life changes quickly. My cousin’s wife’s mother has lost her filters and is shuffling around suddenly. My oldest nephew avoids the rest of us all of a sudden- a turn to adolescence when all he wanted before was to be the first at any game we tried. Food is now an array of gluten free, sugar free, dairy free, spice free options for a variety of food allergies.
People move through families. Some disappear by choice and others change. Nothing is as satisfying and as strengthening as spending time with all of them.
Is there such a thing as soul immunity? If so, this is how you boost it. It’s as important as getting your hands in the soil. As critical as solitude on a daily walk or the relaxing warmth of a long hot bath. As necessary as getting involved in something that makes the world a better place. As important as having deep conversations with people who hear you.
We need intergenerational interaction.
We need ritual.
We need opportunities to bless our food.
We need each other.
We need family.