Family: November 2008 Archives

There is much to be thankful for

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I'm baking today and Chris is brining the turkey. Liam is obsessed with who killed the turkey.

"Who shot it? Did Grandpa shoot it? Did you shoot it?"

"No, we got it at the store!" Chris said, exasperated.

The boys stood by the sink gagging and laughing at all the turkey innards.

"I'll eat everything but that heart," Ewan said, eyeing the giblet bag.

I have two tables set up in my dining room and the first pie cooling on the counter. Tonight we're going to see our friend's band play their annual night before Thanksgiving show and tomorrow the kids will watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade while I set the tables. It's a far cry from the Thanksgivings we used to have at my grandparents' little house in the Ozarks. All were invited. My grandpa's pet chicken, Dumpling, would run around in the front yard while every mature woman in the family would be packed into the small galley kitchen preparing food. They'd have to holler a prayer twice because there were too many people to hear it good once. TBS would air their "A Christmas Story" marathon which Grandma left on until all the leftovers were distributed or refrigerated and then the menfolk would watch the football game. Afterwards, half of the family would primp to go to the next-town-over's big Turkey Bowl basketball tourney and half would gather in Grandma ad Grandpa's dining room and play dominoes.

I'm sitting at my empty dining room table as the morning light fills the room, looking at how I try to overcompensate with white table linens, linen napkins, and candles just to foster what came naturally to Grandma and Grandpa's Thanksgivings: effortless togetherness.

I think the magic that lives in our youth comes from not knowing how hard the adults worked to create it.

We have a lot to be thankful for this year. I'm thankful for my family, faith, and true friends; memories; our health; the work that sustains us financially; the opportunities that come our way; free speech, beef jerky, "Celebrity Rehab," and the vast amounts of patience I require daily.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.  
Ewan's birthday falls on Thanksgiving this year and this is also the second year that we're hosting Thanksgiving at our house. When you have a big family, holidays are mostly fun except our family has, since we were kids, believed it can't count as a holiday unless everyone hosts their own individual celebrations in their own homes. Chris and I spent the first six years of married life dragging ourselves and our kids from house to house to house to house to house and driving everywhere on Thanksgiving and Christmas. We weren't ever able to eat a full meal at anyone's house because we had another meal to eat at someone else's house an hour later - and if you got there and didn't eat then DRAMA. Last year I said that it was more about control and less about the holidays and if people wanted to see us on, say Thanksgiving, the first holiday that popped into my head, then they could come to our house.

Because nothing says happy Thanksgiving like "COME EAT AT MY HOUSE OR ELSE." But I seriously didn't see what the big deal was with having all these segregated little holiday get-togethers instead of having everyone under one happy little roof.

So everyone will be here and we'll be giving thanks and celebrating Ewan's birthday. And because I always let the kids decide what kind of cake they want and I try my best to deliver, Ewan requested a tombstone chocolate cake for his birthday. He also said that he wanted a grim reaper party. A tombstone cake with grim reaper favors on Thanksgiving.

"What about a Thomas birthday?" I asked.

"NO," he refused.

"Oooh, Transformers? Optimus Prime?"

"Grim."

"Mommy will give you $5 to have a Transformers birthday."

"GRIM."

I hope our guests aren't too unnerved when they see a edible tombstone on the buffet and black napkins and some of Ewan's sickles around the house for decoration. Pilgrims had sickles, right?

(Unrelated: this was one of the best episodes of South Park ever. When they burned down Hot Topic? Hysterical.) 

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Dana asks: "Thanksgiving Traditions: Yours or Your Mother's?"