Two Thanksgivings this year, one pulled off astonishingly with friends and a nine a.m. call asking how to cook a turkey, and one with Daniel’s family, with his ninety-one-year-old grandfather. On Veteran’s Day this year a neighbor came by his house with an apple pie to thank him for his service and we didn’t do a thing. He said that I believe in myself, not telling me to but said it like a fact. As we left he patted both my cheeks and told me I was beautiful, and I was so glad to have been there.

I don’t remember a lot of Thanksgivings somehow. This Thursday, we cooked all day and brought everything to the table at the same time and danced and danced and I said at some point I’d never had a better Thanksgiving. My brother said he remembered good ones and I maybe did just say it because I was proud of us, and happy to have ended up here, and glad to be happy. Maybe it wasn’t really true; there are a lot of Novembers. I had grandparents too.

I had a grandfather and a grandmother and I know we sat around tables and my grandfather told stories, had the best stories, but I lost that all somewhere. I do remember the time we flooded the bathroom in the basement and my grandmother said we knew better, and being in the backyard on a playground set with someone I was told was also my grandfather, who had a small baby boy. I remember weird things and not-so-good things, but not because it wasn’t good– I know about deep wells of love– but somehow my head just lost it. And how sad and strange it is to not know enough.

It’s lucky and scary to get to choose our families now, a little bit. I know, reasonably, that it’s not making substitutions, and that this is not how memory works, but: what if I’ve just layered and layered so many of my own fine choices all this way to where I just chose to stop remembering, like there wasn’t enough room. I came from people who lived long miraculous lives and we knew each other anciently but I just let it go. What can I know about choosing or making a family if there’s a whole flooded basement I forgot.

It’s a joke in my family, how little I remember, and I always think of it like a joke. Today I feel a little bit unmoored.