Smile at the Nashville skyline and become a little giddy about seeing your family again.
Almost fall into the toilet in the bathroom when Kelly Pickler abruptly and loudly welcomes you to the Nashville airport over the intercom.
Observe a middle-aged woman and a young gay man at baggage claim embrace each other and cry for a long three minutes. Try with all your might not to cry too.
Notice more gray hairs in your dad’s beard and marvel at how your mom never ages.
Feel supernaturally tall in your childhood home after coming from your sleek modern apartment with high ceilings.
Lay on your stomach on your old bed and peruse the books on your shelf, a chronology of your adolescent and college years.
Shop at Kroger with your mom for Thanksgiving stuff and pray you don’t run into someone you know.
Begin feeling the symptoms of dehydration from sitting in the same chair for hours reading, symptoms you recognize because of every Harry Potter book release of your young life.
Read too much thoughtcatalog and come to terms with the 20-something hipster you probably are.
Drive around your empty college campus with pangs of sadness for a time of your life you will never get back and for memories you had almost forgotten. Compare the person you were in college to the person the “real” world turned you into.
Cross a threshold in your relationship with your mother by talking about times when you were drunk.
Spend hours combing through your brother’s massive itunes library for songs to burn and asking his opinion on every artist. Wish that you could hang out with him more often because you feel like you might be a better person.
Become irritated that you aren’t able to come and go at your leisure without having to tell anyone where you’re going or who you’ll be with.
Enjoy talking for 5 hours to someone you haven’t seen in 5 years, mostly while in a dark classy bar sipping on sidecars that make you feel warm and more acutely post-college. While walking out, observe a couple giggling continuously while crossing a street for no apparent reason. Then do the same in reaction.
Drink sangria and sing along with Al Green while making mac & cheese with bacon and caramelized onions for Thanksgiving. Feel more intoxicated by the smell of bacon than the sangria. Be complimented by two people over the age of 45 in your taste in music.
Spend 30 minutes writing personalized thanksgiving texts to the people you care about and hope that you didn’t forget anyone. Literally “lol” when one person recognizes the gesture while accusing you of sending the same one to all the people you know of the same name.
Be asked by two family members if you have a boyfriend. Say that you are too busy making big bucks as a teacher.
Be asked by your mother about the boy who texted “Happy Thanksgiving” to you while your phone was innocently near her. Tell her that he’s your lover and he’s pregnant and that you’re the father.
Eat the cranberry sauce you made from scratch with a spoon, turkey be damned.
Inhale copious amounts of second hand smoke from cigarettes and the fire pit your dad bought without your mom’s permission. Sing Al Green again around the fire with your childhood friends after changing your dad’s country pandora station.
Share stories about your students and your job because you can’t help yourself and don’t have much else to say.
Laugh and laugh and laugh.
Watch the younger people play a classy game of beer pong on your parents’ oak dining room table while you try to stay up past your old person bedtime. Bang your head against the iron chandelier accidentally. Feel more awake.
Peel your clothes off before collapsing into a deep post-Thanksgiving sleep still smelling like a bonfire.
Cry and cry and cry.
Scream CONGRATULATIONS into the phone for a friend that got into medical school and feel like you got into medical school too. Pop open a bottle of beer to celebrate 400 miles away from him. Become momentarily worried that you don’t know what you’ll be doing a year from now. Only momentarily.
Play Al Green again while writing this because he just makes you feel good, dammit. Be embarrassed to wish for a split second that you were in a cheesy rom-com so someone would take your hand and slow dance with you because the holidays will make you feel lonely sometimes.
Pack your bags and think about the people you didn’t get to see while in your hometown. Promise to see them at Christmas. Hope that reality doesn’t smack you in the face too hard when you get home and that you don’t find spiders in the storage closet that holds your Christmas tree.