My mother-in-law, Mona, has been gone for eight years now. It's been nine years since that last Thanksgiving, where we crowded around the dining room table, before kids, and were a family celebrating a holiday with some weight.
And I think that one of the final gifts she left us is that we were forced to be responsible for our family. If we wanted to have a holiday, we needed to figure out the food and the place and the time. If we wanted to be a family, well, we needed to step up and be there. There was no waiting for Mom to plan Thanksgiving, or going back home for Christmas because she was there. And we've built our family, all of us, day by day, both the holidays and the ordinary days...the days where we all just mesh and the days where we just disagree.
I think she's proud of us. I felt that today.