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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20 Comments

  1. Gwen Kennedy wrote:

    Jean – Happy Thanksgiving to you all! I am so very thankful that you continue to share through this platform. We all need as much joy and love as possible this year and every time I forget EP and then “re-remember” and catch up, it brings a smile to my face. Thank you, for all that *you* do!! My best to you, Nick, and the children from the Brighton side of Boston! 🙂

    Posted 11.30.20 Reply
  2. I’m so glad you’ve continued sharing and blogging all these years.
    I hope you still enjoy it as much as we enjoy reading.
    I grew up surrounded by cousins and aunts and uncles and so much extended family in southern CA but now that we live in northern CA, and especially in this year of COVID, I’ve struggled with my kiddo(s) being disconnected and far away from all their cousins. It feels like it must be so lonely, but we are grateful that everyone has been healthy and safe so far. May we see better times together in 2021.

    Posted 11.29.20 Reply
  3. I agree, beautifully written. Thank you for bringing beauty into the world.

    Posted 11.28.20 Reply
  4. Aderonke Olutunmbi wrote:

    Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday too because of what you mentioned above-having everyone under one roof. I smile at the memories of all the various family member we have had under the same roof, many of whom we hadn’t seen for so long. Every year, my siblings and I would spend hours in the kitchen cooking up a storm as my parents waited in anticipation to what we will whip for that year. Those years has provided my family and I with so many fond memories, that we still reminisce about to this day! I hope you and your family have a great Thanksgiving Day!

    Posted 11.26.20 Reply
  5. AJ wrote:

    Thank you always for sharing your honesty and vulnerability. It gives company to those who feel alone, it brings darkness to light, and it lets the light in.

    Posted 11.26.20 Reply
  6. Beth H wrote:

    The look Rio is giving you! “You are my whole world, Mama!” So darling. It is so hard when the babies are so dependent and there’s so little energy for a Mama to give…but it is also such a special time of sweetness and love. My four kids are older now and we still have a great bond, but my husband and I are often nostalgic for those special baby and toddler days. ❤️

    Posted 11.26.20 Reply
  7. Rebecca wrote:

    Jean, thank you always for your raw honesty. We have many blessings to count. I count your blog as one of them!

    Posted 11.26.20 Reply
  8. Paulie wrote:

    I can relate to this so much. My parents and I are separated by 2400 miles and it’s been so difficult not being able to visit them for over a year now. We talk on the phone and have family ‘get togethers’ over Zoom but, of course, it’s not the same as being there in person with them. And it’s especially heartbreaking watching them age and not be there for them and for my children missing out on this time with them. It’s never bothered me before living so far away from them because we always visited so much. Now the separation is killing me. Thank you for sharing this. It helps me see I’m not alone dealing with these emotions.

    Posted 11.26.20 Reply
  9. Brandi wrote:

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family! ❤

    Posted 11.26.20 Reply
  10. Trinity Nguyen wrote:

    Happy thanksgivings Jean!

    Posted 11.26.20 Reply
  11. Carla wrote:

    The treatment of our elderly is the most egregious part of the year. I read a story yesterday of a lady who killed herself because her nursing home was going to lockdown again. She couldn’t bear living with the forced isolation anymore. She’s not the only story like this and it should never happen.

    Posted 11.26.20 Reply
  12. Janki wrote:

    I always love how real you are with us. The blogging world is meant to inspire and sometimes makes people feel like their lives are the only ones that aren’t “perfect”.
    I’ve followed you for probably a decade and often refer to you as “my friend Jean from Boston”, lol! My family is very similar- just our small group and now my parents aren’t even in America anymore.
    These last 8 months have been so mentally hard yet it feels that I’m surrounded my parents gushing about all the “family time” or bragging about how well home school is going.
    Thanks for being real about what your grateful for- even during this messy time. Xoxo

    Posted 11.26.20 Reply
  13. Litzy wrote:

    This got me: “ We’re all that each other has, with no cousins, aunts or uncles in this country.” As an immigrant, I SO can relate to that, and my heart goes out to you. Wishing you a happy Thanksgiving day to you and your family. As a new first time mom (baby born during the pandemic), I am very thankful for all your mommy content, so thank you!!

    Posted 11.26.20 Reply
  14. M wrote:

    Thank you so much for sharing. I had my first baby in May, and it has been the biggest rollercoaster of emotion. Between the transition into being a new mom and covid—life has completely changed. It has been so wonderful to follow a tiny piece of your journey here and on Instagram. From your practical tips on kids and fashion to your heartfelt posts like this one and others, you’ve been an inspiration.
    Thank you.

    Posted 11.26.20 Reply
  15. Laura wrote:

    What a beautiful blogpost and a lovely reminder that there are still many things to be thankful for. Sending love and best wishes to you and all of your family, and hope that very soon we’ll all be able to be with our loved ones again.
    I had my first baby in June and sadly no one in my or my husband’s families have been able to meet our sweet boy yet as we’re in Western Australia and our families are back in Europe. Hopefully soon. As an aside, your recommendations of practical and inexpensive baby and post-birth essentials has been so useful!

    Posted 11.26.20 Reply
  16. Kristy Vo wrote:

    Wishing you and your loved ones a happy and healthy thanksgiving! I hope your grandparents stay well and safe ❤️ Hearing bout old people breaks my heart 😔
    Beautiful pictures of the kids!!

    Posted 11.26.20 Reply
  17. Jo wrote:

    Beautifully written! I absolutely love Nori’s facial expression in the last picture.

    Posted 11.26.20 Reply
  18. Tennile wrote:

    Hi Jean, this is such a beautifully written blog post. I want to thank you for being such an inspiration to all of us. I thoroughly enjoy reading your blog posts, Instagram feed & watching all the Instagram stories of Nori eating all that delicious food. You & your family bring such joy into my life. All in all, thank you for being you❤️.

    Posted 11.26.20 Reply
  19. Miu @ meetinghalfway wrote:

    Hi Jean – Happy blessed Thanksgiving to you & yours. Thank you for sharing your gratitudes, they humble & resonate with me. Sending love back to you.

    Posted 11.26.20 Reply
  20. Serena wrote:

    Thank you SO much for your blog and for sharing your story. I draw so much inspiration and courage from your posts. Thank you so much for all that you do
    Love,
    Another petite asian female

    Posted 11.25.20 Reply

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