I can’t believe it’s already not only November, but also the second half of November. I personally love November. First, it’s a beautiful month in a lot of places, Paris and France included. Next, holiday excitement really starts building in November for me, partially thanks to lots of gatherings with family and friends and of course Thanksgiving.
This year, I left Paris on October 30th to go back to the US for a wedding and my five year college reunion. The wedding was wonderful and beautiful and I loved spending time with my family. I got to enjoy the changing November leaves in Dallas – we don’t get shades of oranges and reds in Paris like that. Most importantly, I caught up with a lot of friends and family. (And also had a lot of Tex-Mex at Rafa’s).
And then life threw one of those curveballs.
My grandfather died very unexpectedly on November 7th (he didn’t believe in saying “passed away”). Typing those words still takes my breath away nearly two weeks later. It feels like a bad dream that I haven’t yet woken from. But I keep reminding myself that I’m lucky. I spent the first 19 years of my life with four incredible grandparents. We spent every summer, every holiday, and a lot of time in between with both sets of grandparents. My relationship with each grandparent was and is unique and special, but especially so with my grandfather Aubie.
It’s not lost on me that I’m incredibly lucky that I was in Dallas when he died. It was a blessing to be with my family as we reflected on a truly one-of-a-kind man and his very full life.
I flew back to Paris on November 11th, eight years to the day after my Grandpa Mickey passed away (to my knowledge he didn’t have a problem with this expression). I was studying abroad on the first anniversary of his death. All I wanted on that day was to be home with my family. Again, I was lucky – my family, including Aubie, came to Paris just one week later for Thanksgiving.
Today is exactly seven years from the day my family arrived in Paris for their Thanksgiving visit. We had the best week together filled with all of Aubie’s three F’s – food, family, and friends. We took in the sights, lots of French food, and the unpredictable November weather. Aubie even adapted his afternoon nap routine to include French TV and Ladurée macarons. He frequently brought up our Thanksgiving in Paris. It was an unforgettable one for many reasons, but what stands out most to me is how much it encompassed exactly what Thanksgiving is about: coming together, spending time with loved ones, sharing laughs, and of course, enjoying delicious food.
November will always be a month I look forward to. It will also be a month where I look back on memories of family, friends, food, and my two grandfathers.