his Thanksgiving wasn’t meant to be anything but challenging. An ex-husband in Austin, a sister in the hospital, my mom, oldest brother and his family on an RV to Iowa, my other brother with his wife’s clan, my dad doing his thing, and me and my boys somewhere in between.
It didn’t start out that way, but as things often do in families, everyone talked past one another, and we all ended up crossways or haywire. Ultimately, I was left holding the bag with my boys for Thanksgiving, and I wasn’t exactly sure how I felt about it–any of it anymore. However, as my sister said just yesterday, “If you spend all your time mourning what you have lost, you can’t appreciate what you have.”
Thanksgiving morning while combing the professor’s hair, I found the creepy crawlies, LICE! Our Thanksgiving plans suddenly took a turn for the worse. Not only did one of my children have lice, but it was the child with the thickest hair. I began to wonder what exactly God was trying to teach me with yet another blow this holiday.
However, with the help of Quit Nits from Whole Foods, we were in full on lice attack mode. After three plus hours in a shower cap and two hours of nit-picking (literally). We were finally CLEARED for Thanksgiving visiting as the sun slipped behind the horizon. Only problem? Our evening plans did not include dinner, and we were an hour away from the ranch.
I wasn’t sure what to do. Should we try and salvage Thanksgiving by hitting a restaurant or should we go ahead and make the visit that we planned? I was torn between wanting to make a special Thanksgiving for the boys and knowing how much they looked foward to seeing their cousins and uncle at the ranch. My first holiday with them “on our own,” and I, the family’s gourmet cook, had failed to even make my pumpkin pie. Guilt thy name is Motherhood.
I decided that the best course of action was to ask the boys if they wanted to eat a big dinner and skip the ranch or just drive through somewhere. Something you must understand about my children–given the choice between McDonald’s (kiddie crack) or sushi–they will always pick sushi.
However this Thanksgiving, their decision was unamious. They didn’t care about a Thanksgiving feast or food on fancy plates. They wanted to be with their family that loved them. Although, I was still unsettled by having “failed” at the holiday for them, I was vindicated that in the end, they understood that it wasn’t what you did but who you were with on holidays that mattered.
As we pulled through Whataburger, I felt another twinge of guilt. Who eats a Whataburger Jr. for Thanksgiving dinner? Was this a sign of a life to come? (No one has ever accused me of being anything BUT melodramatic). Any doubts or melancholy vanished at the happy sounds of my boys when they saw their cousin waiting for us at the ranch gate.
It was pitch black in the country with stars overhead, and the cold caused us to race from the truck to the house. The boys were a little disappointed that they couldn’t “hunt coyotes” or go fishing in the brisk winter evening, but the house was snug and warm, the company was good, and we were all truly thankful for each other.