Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thankgiving... with a side of bittersweet

It's the day before Thanksgiving, so we're double-checking ingredients and making sure we actually have more than 2 sides. The turkey is an extra special bird --- it's a 12 pounder that Spenser brought home as a result of winning the 3rd grade Turkey Trot one mile race. As Rob says, "that Spense - he's bringing home the bird!" And now we're about to make the bird the featured menu item for Turkey Day! It will be accompanied by a prime rib, for those that are slightly more carnivorous than others.

But Thankgiving is a funny day. At least, it is here in my heart and mind. Over the last 20+ years, Rob and I have lost all of our parents. We're so aware of how lucky we were to have them to begin with, and they are a part of our lives, and the boys' lives, and we knit them into everything we do. That being said, though, it takes my breath away when I realize they are all gone. And Thanksgiving being the sort of holiday it is - well, it makes you remember all of your previous Turkey Days, and the drama of the family table, and the reluctant answers to the annual question "What are YOU thankful for?", which seems like such a stupid question when you're 15, but boy oh boy, when you're 45, it is amazing how long that thankful list is.

I'm not being a downer here. I think watching the Thanksgiving dinner episode of NBC's "Parenthood" is the reason I'm a bit melancholy. I am fully aware it is a t.v. show, no more and no less. But they do such a good job of portraying life in a large family -- and boy, do I miss life in MY large family back in St. Louis. Even though parts of it were downright weird and decidely un-fun. As everyone's life is.

So, this Thanksgiving, I am thankful for all I have had as a result of my large family that I grew up with. I am thankful for the large family I have now - even if it is overwhelmingly dominated by testosterone.

And I am thankful for other things - and so, a list:

Outdoor Christmas decorations, especially the articulated white wire deer that come with entirely unintelligible building directions

The new engine that brought our 2003 Expedition back to life

Wireless printing. Definitely one of the best things EVER.

Elementary school Awards Assemblies - just had one yesterday. The parental pride was downright palpable!


Hunter and Truman, our family canine companions

Recreational and high school football - what on earth would fall be without my boys playing football??

E-mail and texting-- without it, my siblings and I would have virtually ZERO communication

Sod. Until your yard is missing a significant amount of grass, you have no idea how wonderful replacement sod can be. Trust me on this.

Our outdoor fireplace. We use it nearly every day, and it is definitely a source of family time for us.

Fall in Virginia - fall is a real season here, long and lovely, especially this year.

Christmas music 24/7 on Pandora. Really, can you hear "Have A Holly Jolly Christmas" too many times?

What I am most thankful for, though, is not something I can lay a hand on, or smell, or show in a picture.

I am incredibly thankful for my mom, dad and step-mother, who gave me a childhood filled with security, love and its share of bumps in the road. They gave me the foundation to become the still-in-progress person that I am, and they gave me confidence in myself to know that somehow, some way, I will muddle my way through and give my kids the same security and love.

Because one thing I know for sure is this: Rob and I are creating the memories that will someday provide our boys with the brickwork for their adult lives -- and I damn sure want to know that they had it at least as good as I did. And boy, did I have it good...

And I still do. Testosterone and all.

Happy Thanksgiving to you - and don't forget to have a healthy serving of Reddi Whip with the pie of your choice tomorrow. Honestly, isn't pie usually just a vehicle FOR the whipped cream?

: )