An Open Letter To My Tribe- The Day That Got Away

I know how today goes. Early morning wake up. I’ll debate on whether to grab my cozy quilt and wrap up in family history for the journey ahead or leave it behind. I’ll consider whether I want to get ready or crawl into the car in my pajamas.

It’s not that time yet, though.

Dad will scrape the car if the weather was cold and it was outside. We will climb in the car. At some point during the journey, a  simmering coffee will slip into my hand and the car will have the aroma of Starbucks or Tim Hortons.

We haven’t left yet, though.

In a couple hours, my stomach will be sick from the curvy roads as we pull into the drive and pile out of the car. I’ll probably be texting the cousins the whole time trying to see who will get there first. Guaranteed it won’t be Sean and Alanna and it depends on how insane Chris drives this time.

We aren’t even close yet, though.

I’ll quickly find Grandma to squeeze. John will be filling the house with interpretations of Veggie Tales and Nacho Libre. Lydia will probably be walking around in some crazy unicorn onesie. Tristen will already begin to question if we are staying up all night and what movies we will watch. Ireland is in the other room carrying on some ridiculously intellectual conversation that goes over my head. Most likely I’m even googling definitions for words she uses.

We are not there yet, though.

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The house will fill with familiar sounds. Everyone’s voices combined, the mixture of laughter, smells of turkey, the sight of amazing fudge, Michigan vs. Ohio State debates and so much more all mixed together to create the feeling that can only be produced by a specific tribe on a specific day.

By my tribe. On this day.

But today….today’s the day that got away.

I won’t wake up and climb in the car.

That time won’t come, those sounds won’t be heard, those smells won’t fill the air I breathe, and the specific feeling only produced by you, on this day, once a year….won’t come.

Because today is the day that got away.

I wake up and it’s still 1am at home.

I’ll buy food but it won’t be Aunt Michelle’s fudge or dads mashed potatoes.

I won’t hear those familiar sounds.

I won’t experience the new formula of our family with the addition of a tiny human.

I won’t be there to laugh again when we all hear the reminiscing stories…including:

“Hey Afton, move forward!”

“Moving forward”


“Hey! Who shot me!?”

Likewise, the post-turkey-bowl banter won’t meet my ears.

Because today is the day that got away.

It got away because there is distance.

It got away geographically, but it didn’t get away by spirit.

To my tribe,

I would give so much to be with you today. I love each and every one of you fiercely. Though today is not the same for me, my appreciation for every tradition, meal, gathering and laugh we didn’t let get away…is more immense than ever before.

With all my love,



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