Mindy Kaling Celebrates Thanksgiving with Rare Pic of Kids on the Beach: 'What I'm Grateful For'
Mindy Kaling/Instagram; Inset: Rich Fury/Getty
Mindy Kaling is feeling thankful.
On Thanksgiving, the 42-year-old actress and producer posted a photo to Instagram of her daughter Katherine "Kit" Swati, 3, and son Spencer Avu, 14 months, on the beach, along with a touching tribute about her kids.
"What I'm grateful for this year," she wrote. "Happy Thanksgiving, everyone." In the image, taken at the water's edge, Kit held her little brother's stroller as Spencer sat inside. The siblings looked out as the sun set into the sea.
Speaking exclusively to PEOPLE about her new Amazon Handmade holiday collection earlier this month, Kaling shared some of her favorite Thanksgiving traditions from childhood.
"The biggest tradition I had in my house [growing up] was that for a holiday like Thanksgiving, we dropped everything and just helped my mom as sous chefs," the Mindy Project star said. "We would come home, I would sit there with her and I would just be endlessly chopping vegetables and peeling vegetables and baking pies."
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"And I think my mom, who was a really busy doctor, someone who didn't have a lot of hobbies, she immigrated here and just fell in love with basically all of Americana ... She loved throwing a huge Thanksgiving and preparing for three or four days beforehand," she added.
Kaling, who has never revealed the identity of the father of her children, opened up about being a single mom in a collection of essays titled Nothing Like I Imagined (Except for Sometimes), released in October last year.
In the text, the star said that not having her mother Swati (who died of pancreatic cancer in January 2012) to lean on as she navigated motherhood had been difficult, and that she missed her mom "viscerally, painfully."
"When I was pregnant, I had enough time to visualize taking care of my daughter without a husband. That was easy. Most of my friends' husbands don't even change diapers," Kaling wrote. "But not having a mom around to support me was torture. It felt especially cosmically mean that my mother had been an obstetrician and gynecologist and I'd had a tough delivery."
In September, the comedian celebrated her son Spencer's first birthday with an emotional tribute on Instagram, writing in part, "I had Spencer during Covid and it was a strange isolated time, but the instant I saw him I knew he would make everything better. And he did! Happy birthday, Spike!"