All together now

This Thanksgiving my brothers and I will be together. In one house. With our children. All 6 of them ranging in ages from 2 to 12. My sisters-in-law will also be there, and it may be them that I worry about the most. Because with all of those Schreibers in attendance, one thing is assured: it will be loud.

When my brothers and I get together, whether it's just two families or all three families, we laugh until we cry and we cry and cry some more. We remember our childhood together. We remember growing up, moving from house to house, to boarding school, to college. In some ways we had very different childhoods because of the passing of years and the movement in our family. In some ways, we had the same experience- with divorce and the loss of our mom. But despite the differences in our childhoods, we remain steadfastly together and bonded over laughter and loss.

I wonder how my brothers think of all that happened when we were young, I wonder how they view it from so many years later. For me, I'm grateful for having survived, for having made it through the raw pain of losing my mom, but more than that I'm grateful for the companionship of my brothers. Because without them to anchor me, without them to care for, without them to worry about and fret over, I don't know where all of my energy born of loss would have gone. I'm grateful that I had my brothers to lean on, and I'm thankful as well that I was able to be there for them.

We were so young when my mom died, and while we are older now, we still remain those children in many ways. So that when we get together and we giggle in our high-pitched-Schreiber laughs, when we play cards and board games and argue and fight and accuse one another of cheating or not paying enough attention or ganging up on the older sister, or babying the youngest brother, or chiding the middle brother for being the favorite, when we are together and think back on the past, we are not the same, but we are family. And now we bring our own families into the mix, and now we have our children with us as we make new memories. Now we are thankful for getting together, all of us in one place, in one house. We are thankful for sharing our lives with each other and for knowing, whether we live close or so very far apart, we can never be alone, because we have each other.

After all, this is the life.