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The comic that parents need to see before they embark on Thanksgiving.

"I have a plan, but then real life as a parent happens."

The comic that parents need to see before they embark on Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays.

Though the food is incredible, it’s not the main reason I love this holiday.

I absolutely love Thanksgiving because I get to be with my family, play games, work as a team to make a delicious feast, and reflect upon the things I am grateful for in my life. This vacation time, coupled with fun and my end-of-year gratitude recap, gives me a boost I can use to propel me through the next holiday and into the new year.


Maybe I’m overly optimistic about how the holiday festivities will go, but I always look forward to the potential for these beautiful family moments each and every Thanksgiving.

​Comic by Sara Zimmerman/Unearthed Comics.

The thing I do tend to overlook in my “fantasy of the perfect family Thanksgiving” is that the experience of Thanksgiving as a parent tends to have some unexpected elements that add to the unpredictability of the holiday. This is because though I would love to plan every single moment with how I can possibly prevent dealing with explosive tantrums and insurmountable frustration, I can’t.  

So, as a parent, approaching the uncontrollable events and emotions means being more fluid than runny gravy and dealing with these changes as they occur.

For instance, I always just assume that traveling to see my family will go smoothly, easily, quickly — only to realize that the assumption itself is a delusion. Though sometimes our drive has gone smoothly and we have arrived on time and unscathed, this is not a frequent event.

How it often goes is that we frantically pack and rush to leave only to hit terrible traffic where time and space seem to meld together into a standstill and walking starts to seem like a faster mode of transportation. The slow-moving mass of steel and exhaust starts to feel claustrophobic and, soon, an antsy child erupts. As a parent who has suffered through previous child meltdowns incurred by everything from forgetting toys to being overwhelmed and hungry while traveling, I try to plan for this by packing and overpacking. But it’s always difficult to foresee exactly what my child will be satisfied with and how long the distraction will last.

The same goes for meal and holiday preparation. I have a plan, but then real life as a parent happens.

This means sometimes my adorable little offspring distracts me from staying on task.

​Comic by Sara Zimmerman/Unearthed Comics.

Once the juggling of impeccably timed baking coalesces into a picture-perfect meal, we all sit down with the expectation of relaxing as we calmly eat and express our gratitude. And as a non-parent, dinner seems to align with this expectation in this order: sit down, eat, and then talk over dessert.

However, as a parent, the meal goes just a bit differently and is usually accomplished with more whim than that of drunken fraternity BBQ.

​Comic by Sara Zimmerman/Unearthed Comics.

After dinner, our intention is good: enjoy our chance to be together by playing games and sharing stories.

Yet, usually, that intention gets cut short by a food-induced coma. Then, with full stomachs and heavy eyelids, we pack up game pieces and pile on top of each other to watch a movie.

​Comic by Sara Zimmerman/Unearthed Comics.

All in all, an idealized Thanksgiving is just that: ideals.

The ability to enjoy reality lies behind the intention of the love shared by being together, whether it all works out anything like my strategically fantasized plan or I decide to just wing it, go with the flow, and enjoy reality.

​Comic by Sara Zimmerman/Unearthed Comics.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

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Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.

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