Except that's never been Thanksgiving for us. We have lots of family, many of which are close by. Thanksgiving for us is always about rushing from one family to the next, watching the clock, packing the car, saying goodbye, eating again. I usually get stressed and irritable, worried I've forgotten an integral dish or that we didn't have enough time here, or we'll be late there, or we need to make sure The Boy can nap in the car. For us, Thanksgiving has never been about time. It's never been about relaxing or savoring the moment. We love to see our family, but there's never enough time with any of them. There's a feeling that if we didn't do as much we could enjoy what we do a little more, but telling any of them no risks hurting their feelings, picking sides, or not getting to see them. It's always go-be really thankful-go-be really thankful-go-be thankful again-crash.
You know I have the flu. It's not awesome. The Husband and The Boy are likely carriers too. We didn't get to go to Thanksgiving. Any of them. We missed 4 family meals, 2 photography sessions, a shopping tradition with my mom, and a partridge in a pear tree. And I was bummed.
And it was wonderful.
Wha? Huh? Y'all, I've never been so thankful. I am mostly still quarantined in our bedroom. The Husband and The Boy were here, but I could not hang out with them. I heard their sweet voices. I mean, I really heard them in a way that you don't hear when you're with someone all the time, or rushing trying to do something else. I heard how tender they were to each other, and it made me love them so. I heard them playing and singing, and I longed to be with them. I promise you if we had been in the car, running from place to place all day I would not long to be with them.
When I was in bed, The Boy stood out in the hall and called to me. He asked "mama, you sick?" and made fake gagging sounds at the door, and I laughed. He spontaneously sprinkled me with "I wuv you, mom"s and "you okay?"s. I called to The Husband and asked him to please put The Boy's turkey shirt on. "What's the point?" he asked. "It's Thanksgiving!" I said. So The Boy wore his turkey shirt. Around the house. With just his underwear.
We watched the parade. Me, from the bed, and them from the living room. I would call out "tell him it's the Native Americans! Like he learned about at school!" And The Husband would tell him. For a few minutes I snuck into the hall and watched from an acceptable distance, pointing out things, and The Boy danced. It was delightful. We did not rush. We did not fight. We just drank it in.
Last night I overheard this:
Husband: Don't tell me no.
Husband: because you're the child. (The Husband had been flying solo for awhile now)
Boy: I not a child...........I Bebe's wittle angel!
Is that not enough to melt you?
My mother-in-law was kind enough to bring over some dinner. I ate it in the bed with a side of delsym and disinfectant. It was delicious, but I'd be lying if I didn't feel a little self-pity. I knew everyone was at The Husband's grandmother's house eating and enjoying each other. I knew kids were running and babies were being passed around. In that moment I appreciated them SO much. Much more than I would have if I'd been there. I loved that big family (I bet there were 40 people there last night), and I was thankful for how many family Thanksgivings we
I thought of people who spend Thanksgiving alone every year, with no one to rush to. I thought of elderly people in nursing homes with no one to visit. I thought of families of incarcerated men and women who miss their parents, children in foster homes longing for families, people in hospitals and hospices, people who suffer because of poverty and hunger. And I'd been feeling bad because I was eating alone, this one day? Sick, this one day? Suddenly complaining about having too many people that love us, and too much food to eat and too many warm houses to eat in seemed a little....pathetic. Luxurious. Not thankful.
Y'all, the flu ain't so bad. In fact, it might have been just what I needed. It's what made this the worst best thanksgiving ever. Maybe our Thanksgiving is more like this than I knew.