I’ve joked for years that my main connection to my three sisters comes through Taylor Swift. If I never know what to talk about, I could always count on my sisters to share a thorough explanation of Swift’s recent dating escapades.
My family owns Swift’s early albums on CD, and we still tell the story of my sisters trying to gift Swift a homemade cake during her 2011 Speak Now World Tour.
Twelve years later, her presence in my family is still all-consuming. Here is how my Thanksgiving week went down:
My middle sister arrived on Monday afternoon, and only minutes passed before she and my youngest sister reminisced about their experience at Swift’s Eras Tour back in March.
That evening we watched Swift’s boyfriend, Travis Kelce, and the Kansas City Chiefs play the Philadelphia Eagles. My aunt checked on her fantasy team, while every pass to Kelce brought a couple comments from my sisters.
My aunt has three daughters, two of whom study music, so it is not hard to guess how Kelce ended up on her fantasy team.
“This is what happens when Taylor’s not there for Kelce,” said my middle sister after a disappointing loss.
Even my dad joined the action, reading off a few quotes from a recent Wall Street Journal piece about Kelce and Swift’s relationship.
The morning was peaceful, but our lunchtime conversation about the new Hunger Games movie quickly turned to a discussion over Swift’s new concert film.
During dinner, one sister proposed a twist on the age-old discussion of favorite albums: Across all of Swift’s albums, which album has your favorite fifth track? It didn’t take long before each had an answer, and we only had to confirm a couple of track listings.
After dinner, we watched a Swift-themed special episode of Dancing with the Stars, filled with covers of her popular songs and awkward lyric-related puns.
“Look at what you’ve made this crowd do!” said Julianne Hough, one of the hosts, after a performance of Swift’s “Look What You Made Me Do.”
I rolled my eyes.
We started Wednesday with a walk through a local nature preserve. Both my sisters wore their Eras Tour shirts, the ones with ten pairs of intense eyes staring you down (or maybe nine and a half, I guess the “Fearless” Taylor is looking to the side).
That afternoon, my older sister and her 18-month-old arrived from North Carolina, and we immediately crowded around the baby to adore her and remind her of our names.
Then my middle sister pointed to the collage of Swift on her shirt.
“Can you say, ‘Taylor’?” she joked. “I’ve got to train her young.”
On the way home from lunch with some family friends, we listened to “Taylor Swift” by Matt Cooper, a song filled with lyrical references to many of Swift’s songs.
For a family evening activity, we each took a piece of paper and wrote down various people, events and objects we were grateful for this year. While we took the time to contemplate and write, piano arrangements of Swift songs echoed across the house.
Swift was the second name on my youngest sister’s list, after “my family” but just before “my friends.”
Cousins and grandparents filled our home most of the holiday. Discussions about Swift were no match for a mouthful of pie, and the day passed without much of her presence.
Well, at least from what I could hear. Who knows what the girls talked about while watching our family game of backyard football?
As families parted ways that evening, my dad was at it again, reciting another piece from the Wall Street Journal proposing Swift be named as Time’s 2023 Person of the Year.
“Friends, this is some kind of epic American thing that is happening, something on the order of great tales and myths,” writes Peggy Noonan in the article. “Wherever she went it was like the past three years (of national turmoil) didn’t happen.”
As I sat on the couch that evening, digesting one too many rolls and pondering over the day, my mind went back to these ten conversations about the American icon. After being apart for months, my family still found something in common to discuss and enjoy.
Relationships are hard enough to maintain under normal circumstances, and in an era of generational divides, political turmoil and uncertainty, that shared experience with Taylor Swift is something I am grateful for.
As my sister said on Tuesday, “I’m kind of sick of talking about her, but it’s just so easy.”
Eight hundred words later, I have to agree.