UNITED STATES—Something happened over the Thanksgiving holiday that hasn’t happened in a while, my family actually bonded in a way that we haven’t done in years. Yes, as a kid we celebrated EVERY, and I mean EVERY Thanksgiving together. As we got older, and began to start our own families the divide became evident. It’s not like I didn’t want to spend time with family, it just happens to be the nature of the beast. As you get older new traditions and things come into play.

I will admit the idea and notion of cooking for the big holidays is starting to take a toll on my body. I mean literally, I worked every single day last week. I’m so exhausted I can’t even think straight. You can mark my words now, come Christmas, I will not be working Friday-Sunday (I’m taking a 3-day holiday weekend that is so deserved).

I’ll say this, as I said this once again, prep work is the killer when it comes to cooking in the kitchen. I started prep work for dishes on Tuesday and found myself working into the wee hours on Wednesday night.

It was probably the fact that I worked each day leading up to Thanksgiving in addition to cooking that left me exhausted. I mean from Tuesday-Saturday I went to sleep at 2am each night. Yeah, I was getting less than 5 hours of sleepy eye for the past week, and it drove me crazy. Apologies for the digression, while prepping dishes with the family we recollected on such happy moments from our childhood and moments in the past where we remembered classic moments and ones not so classic also.

It prompted us to all acknowledge that it has been quite some time since we last hosted a traditional family Thanksgiving with everyone in tow. Was it sad, you betcha, but we decided to do something about it. We made it our mission to take turns hosting the festivities each year and ensuring family gatherings like we did in the past.

For some, the reason we haven’t convened as normal is because of stupid family squabbles that some can never seem to get over. It’s like people argue over the dumbest things, only to realize too little too late that it was pointless to begin with. When people say that food brings people together, they were certainly telling the truth. The smell of good food, the taste of that food and sharing family recipes are life-altering.

That’s all that took place between me and my family from Wednesday-Thursday; we ate a feast, joked about dishes that were stellar highlights and those that were mediocre. We put all the grudges that we had been harboring for weeks, months, even years in some situations to the backburner. I’m thankful for the holidays because it allows me the opportunity to spend time with family members that unfortunately I have drifted away from. To heighten the importance, I’ve realized that when you bond with family the memories do indeed last forever.