I'm talking to my dad in a corner of the room, because it's about the only place we can stand without getting run over by Kendra's rampaging children. It's so loud with the screaming boys and Kendra yelling at them and her husband, that we're almost shouting at each other to be heard.
"The classes are going well so far," my dad says, stepping aside as one of the little boys (I can never tell them apart) nearly collides with his leg. "Dottie, go easy on those," he adds. Mom looks up innocently from her shot glass. "She had four before we'd even gotten into the car," Dad says to me. "You know how one gets around your sister-in-law."
I watch Terri's sister screaming family and nod. "I don't blame her. This place is a madhouse." Dad smiles in a way that tells me he's thinking 'madhouse' is an understatement. "But thanks for coming over. I wanted to have Thanksgiving with you and Mom but Terri'd already told Kendra we'd be here, and I couldn't argue it because the pregnancy hormones kicked in and–"
"It's okay, I understand. I had a pregnant wife once upon a time too."
"Alright, everyone, let's get this dinner going," Kendra snaps and then leads the way into the dining room. Her husband, a man I pity more than just about any other, is finishing putting the food on the table. She yells at him as we take our seats, something about the way he arranged the utensils, before finally sitting down so we can start dinner. We all take hands for the grace and I've got my dad on my left and Terri on my right. I can't help but zone out as Kendra starts talking.
Instead I look sideways at my dad, and my mom on his other side, who are willing to tolerate Terri's crazy relatives to spend the holiday with me. As if my dad can hear what I'm thinking, he squeezes my hand. Then I glance over at Terri and that beautiful baby bump. It occurs to me that this time next year we'll have our little girl with us for Thanksgiving. That thought makes me happy enough to block out the headache forming from my nephews' shouting. I can't wait until next year, because then I'll really have what the whole holiday is about anyway: a family.