The Spaces Between Your Fingers

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I interviewed my grandpa about the last thanksgiving before my younger brother was born. It was important to him because I was the only and first grandchild at the time and he couldn’t be happier to share these family events with me. To this day, we still make the same faces at each other while simultaneously sharing the same thoughts. He is the one person that truly understands me.

           Today I get to see my little duckling for another family gathering, Thanksgiving. Although we are two hours away, I would do anything to drive up to the country, just to get away from the chaos of Long Island. Plus, I have the pleasure of spending this afternoon making faces with Ella and drawing them on holiday napkins each time she points with her baby doll fingers and says “Face”. Out of the million I have managed to draw, only one is of her liking today. I watched as she jumped off the kitchen chair and humbly walked over to the fridge. She jumps. “Mom, mom, magnet! Face!” Her mother walks over to her, only to see the Picasso pen drawing on the napkin in her hands that I had created and laughs. Pushing aside the assorted alphabet magnets and various finger paintings, she takes the picture from Ella and tacks this masterpiece right next to the crossed out grocery list. As she walks away, Ella stands at the foot of the fridge, staring at the face and giggling to herself.

            The dinner bell rings and immediately everyone moves from the living room to the crammed yet decorated dining room. The warmth of the feast on the table and family surrounding me is comforting. Ella swiftly dodges the commotion to claim her spot next to me at the table, demanding she be the “only one” who sits next to grandpa. As the buffet line begins to assemble, I pick Ella up so she can see what lies on the table before us. Turkey, assorted vegetables, potatoes, home baked bread and applesauce lay carefully in the blue and yellow-checkered china bowls, yet the only place her eyes are focused on is me. Her dark brown pupils glow as she shakes her head to move the choppy black bangs out of her face. I feel her fingers grip around my black wool sweater, yanking down to get my attention. She laughs, a sweet sound that echoes through my ears and makes her mom smile. “Ella, come here so grandpa can get food too”. “No!” she says. I laugh. I wouldn’t want to let go of her anyway.

            After I pile our plates high, we make our way back to the table. Even though our family isn’t religious, I always lead prayer before the traditional feast. Before saying, “Amen” harmoniously, I peer over at Ella and see her small hands clasped together, peering over at me smirking. As we look up, each family member is laughing at the two of us making the same face. That’s my little girl. 

The Last Thanksgiving

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November 1995
Pleasant Valley, NY

I interviewed my grandpa about the last thanksgiving before my younger brother was born. It was important to him because I was the only and first grandchild at the time and he couldn’t be happier to share these family events with me. To this day, we still make the same faces at each other while simultaneously sharing the same thoughts. He is the one person that truly understands me.

Decade: 1990s
Rating:
Recorded by Gabriella deHaan on March 20, 2014
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