President-elect Joe Biden and FLOTUS-elect Jill Biden co-wrote an opinion piece for CNN on Thanksgiving and thankfulness during the COVID times.
This Thanksgiving, tables throughout our country will have an empty chair.
It may be for the loved one who can’t travel or the parent stationed overseas. Perhaps it’s for your sister or brother just across town – staying away to protect everyone during this pandemic, making sure next year will be celebrated together.
For the families of the Americans lost this year, that chair is another reminder that someone they love will never come home again.
Over the years, the traditions our family created became sacred rituals: making family recipes, passed down from generation to generation, in a warm, crowded kitchen; setting the table with fresh flowers and lighting candles; playing football and games of checkers; taking our ever-growing family photo. Traditions helped us find joy after having our own empty chair at the table. They remind us that, even as so much changes, the bonds of family don’t.
This year, our turkey will be smaller and the clatter of cooking a little quieter. There will be no family walks in the cold or playful bickering amongst the grandkids. Like millions of Americans, we are temporarily letting go of the traditions we can’t do safely.
It is not a small sacrifice. These moments with our loved ones – time that’s lost – can’t be returned. Yet, we know it’s the price of protecting each other and one we don’t pay alone. Isolated in our own dining rooms and kitchens, scattered from coast to coast, we are healing together.
Still, like you, our family will hold on to our most important tradition: taking a moment to count the many reasons we have to be grateful.