This Thanksgiving

Monica + Andy dress for girls

Growing up, Thanksgiving was always my favorite holiday. We almost never had turkey, but rather the “traditional” immigrant-family fusion spread of classic American sides like mashed potatoes paired with Chinese main dishes like a sticky rice stuffed chicken or roast duck (the one year we did have turkey, the highlight was actually the steamed bao buns and wontons that Mom stuffed with leftover turkey!). She would be bustling in the kitchen for days in advance, then my dad would scarf down his plate and jet off to be first in line in the freezing cold overnight for some Black Friday doorbuster. One year he left in such a rush, he backed into my car while exiting the driveway!

I developed an even stronger appreciation for this holiday after moving away from home, as it was the one time each year our loved ones were under one roof. My family lives scattered across the US, with one brother in WA, my parents in NY, and my grandparents & Nick’s parents in CA. We’re all that each other has, with no cousins, aunts or uncles in this country, so being together on this holiday meant a tremendous amount to me.

Like many of you, this is our first year spending it without the rest of our family. My heart aches thinking about my dear grandparents, whose health declined rapidly this year, as I’ve looked on, connected but helpless, through Facetime.

I’m thankful they’re still with us, leaving me with hope to visit again one day and let Nori and Rio light up their faces. I’m thankful for Nick, who’s been devotedly caring for our babies especially when I’m mentally & physically tapped out. I’m thankful to have my mom here, to support me through postpartum and this challenging transition. I’m thankful for my kids’ smiles, which are filled with such innocence and pure joy and manage to always lift me up.

And I’m thankful to still have this platform, which has connected me with many incredible souls near and far. I’m thankful for each one of you for being here, and just wanted to send my love this Thanksgiving.

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