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This year, and every year, I am most thankful for family

On this Thanksgiving, I can’t help but look back on the year so far and realize how fortunate I’ve been to lean on the unwavering support of my relatives.

Two people, in particular, my father and my grandmother, are full of wisdom that I continue to use as a guiding light throughout my life. They have so honestly and openly shared their successes and failures with me in hopes of helping me forge my own path.

Decades ago, my father made the decision to move his family from Buffalo, New York, and relocate to Arizona. And I cannot express enough how truly thankful I am for that.

The rest of my relatives remain in the upstate New York area and continue to brave every gruesome winter thrown their way.

Even though there are thousands of miles between us, I have always maintained close communication with my grandmother especially. She is the most resilient person I think I’ll ever meet. She’s fiery, bold, and never afraid to say it like it is.

The last handful of years have been incredibly trying for my grandmother. Yet despite the tough battles she has faced, she continues to be a rock for the entire family and has never for a moment lost her sense of humor. There’s something remarkably admirable about that.

There’s no more fitting way to describe her than as a bada** – and I know she wouldn’t mind my saying so. Instead, she’d explode into a fit of infectious laughter that would light up an entire room. I have always struggled to find a more appropriate word to describe her, and I’ve realized that there just isn’t one.

So I’d like to express my gratitude this Thanksgiving to a woman who probably does not realize how much she’s appreciated because she doesn’t hear “thank you” enough: my grandmother.

Through the lowest of lows and the highest of highs, loved ones are right there beside you. When you look beyond the noise and uncertainty in the world, you realize that family is the only thing that truly matters at the end of the day.

And on a far less serious note: To all of my relatives who continue to choose – for some reason I cannot figure out – to live in Buffalo, I want you to know that I’m extraordinarily thankful that I escaped to a beautiful, sunny state that did not bury me in six feet of lake-effect snow last week.

When asked how bad the blizzard was, my sassy grandmother replied, “1977 was worse.”

The blurry picture below, featuring my two young cousins for “snowfall scale,” is courtesy of Grandma:

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This year, and every year, I am most thankful for family

1,600 years before Plymouth, a Thanksgiving feast took place in Israel just before the most important week in human history — and it was all about gratitude