Sunday, November 28, 2004

An open letter to my family

Published Thanksgiving 2004

Don’t laugh. You are all wonderful people. Do I tell you enough how I feel about you? We have had so many good times together. Births, weddings and funerals are the milestones by which we gauge time together. Sacraments, graduations, anniversaries and tragedies. All these we have shared and more. Life’s recipe has been to put us all in a big mixer on high mode. We’ve baked up big celebrations and big misunderstandings. Do you know there is no other family I would choose to be a member of in the whole wide world except our crazy mixed up family? I’ve been thinking about the past a lot lately and it seems that this tapestry that we are all a part of is a unique creation of people, places, memories, triumphs and defeats.

How we came to be, circumstances and providence putting together two people every couple of decades, mixing cultures, traditions and habits. I am thinking of the ancestors who were English, Irish and German coming to the continent with less change in their pockets than I can scrape up in my laundry room in a given week. Their dreams were their passport and hope was their visa. They moved across country and mixed up the pot even more, some educated and some not so. One fought in the civil war and another ran a saloon. Everyone tried to stay married in those days. These days are different. We have convenience in our world, when you had suffering, illness and death at your doorstep. One thing you preserved for us though was faith. Thank you for keeping that safe when all seemed lost – during wars and the Great Depression, you still knew what it meant to be in the pew on Sunday.

Some of you died when you were young and others are still living, great grandparents to my children. My children have the legacy of the collective sides of my parents and those of my husband; Irish and Italian immigrants who had never celebrated a Thanksgiving Day until they arrived in the States in the first part of the last century.

We are all different; as unique and diverse as the designer Who created us. Our bond is our family, forgiving in our weaknesses and celebrating our strengths. No one takes the place of those whom are our parents, sisters, brothers, sons and daughters. Even when we are apart by time, distance and circumstance, there is always room for your return to our hearts which has always left a place for you there.

I love you family and this Thanksgiving, I give thanks for you.
Tammy Maher is a resident of El Dorado Hills and bi-weekly columnist for the Mountain Democrat. You can reach her at

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