So, Turkey Day has rolled around again. And Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop happens to be on Thanksgiving this year. (Funny how that happens, being how they both always fall on a Thursday.)
The prompts all have to do about Thanksgiving, except for one about falling down... I think I might just generalize.
I thought it would be fun to interview my kids about Thanksgiving. It didn't last very long, so, I'm not sure if that would make my full post.
This afternoon, I asked my 3 year old what Thanksgiving was. And he said something that resembled "turkey." I was thrilled, and surprised, since everything he learns now comes from Dino Dan, I had no idea he had even the slightest inkling what the hell I was talking about.
So I happily say, "That's right, Bud. Turkey. We are going to eat some turkey." Thinking possibly that I've done my job as a parent correctly, or that last year had left some kind of impression, or maybe I can now cancel our visit to the neurologist, but then he corrects me (he's been getting good at that lately)
"No, Mom, cookie."
Oh, that sucks. "Sorry, Bud. We don't have any cookies."
"Cooookie!" he says again in that obnoxious, throaty, weirdo voice he gets when he knows he's not going to get what he's asking for.
So I try again. "We're going to eat some turkey tomorrow, with our whole family!" You can hear the forced enthusiasm in my voice. I wonder if you can also hear my thoughts. Like, "Great, I'm really looking forward to chasing you and your sister through the exquisitely decorated home of my most snobbish, overprivilaged, childless aunt... for SEVERAL HOURS!"
Maybe it was that, or maybe it was the fact we'd moved away from the cookie conversation, but Tyler altered his voice to the even deeper, throatier weirdo voice, "No TURKEY!"
"But Bud!" I don't even know why I'm continuing this, when obviously it's pointless. "Turkey is like chicken, only bigger!"
He starts to squirm, "No turkey, no CHICKEN!"
I give up, I begin to tickle him. "A turkey is a chicken that's as big as your whole body!" I give him one of those hugs that he hates so much, where he can only flail his skinny arms and legs impotently against the all enveloping Momma-hug. "A big Tyler chicken... yum.. yum...YUM!"
I let him go, and off he went, laughing like a maniac. At least he'd forgotten that he had been asking for cookies.
Then, I asked his sister, and she said, "EAT!"
Hey, it's her favorite word right now.. and she's 20 months old, she yells everything. I thought it was pretty apt.
That was the best interview answer I'd gotten. What else would a baby in the 95th percentile say?
This Thanksgiving is going to be different. Very different than any I have ever known.
Every year since I was born, we have done the same exact thing. We go to my Grandma and Grandpa's house.
The womenfolk, usually my Grandma, though the other women pitched in... and more and more as the years went by, the women were in the kitchen.
The men, after eating yucky oysters out of the can, would retire to the living room to watch the game, or stand in the backyard, talking. Any caught in the dining room or kitchen were put to work pouring limeade or setting up tables.
Kids ran rampant, virtually unchecked by anyone. The rules were simple and rarely broken, don't go into Grandma and Granpa's room (boring anyways) and don't mess with the sitting room, especially not the alpaca rug. That rule may have been broken by each of us kids, but only once.
Then, dinner was served, super early in the day... like 2 or 3 o'clock. A feast, always set like a buffet on a long table outside. We served ourselves, and only the old people ate the green pistachio jello pudding stuff.
After we ate, the men would either sit and watch the game, or head with the rest of us down to the park to play football. All our mettle was tested, young and old were invited... and SOMEONE always threw out a knee. In the early years it was always my dad or an uncle, lately it's been my cousins. I guess that means we've grown up. We still don't eat the pistachio pudding.
We'd all return to the house, worn out and red-faced. And then it was pie time.
After that, we'd hold Christmas at Thanksgiving, because we didn't see this side of our family again this year. We'd sit in a circle, and youngest to oldest say what we were thankful for.
I don't think I ever realized how much this all meant to me. I do now.
Last year, my Grandpa died. I lived with him and my Grandma for about 6 weeks, first to care for my Grandma after her stroke (Grandpa had had one years ago, and my Grandma cared for him) and later to care for my Grandpa while he was dying.
I took along my infant daughter, and left Tyler to have Daddy-time. I only came home for a few hours, and only twice... the second time, my Grandpa died while I was gone.
We had our last Thanksgiving shortly after that.
As we prepare to go to my Aunt's house (on the other side of my family) for the first Thanksgiving I've ever had not at my Grandparents' house... I miss my Grandparents so much more... and the loveliness that once was Thanksgiving.
I'm going to take this stuffing that I've prepared for 3 days straight, try to keep my kids from touching her expensive things, and put on my best face.
But I miss Thanksgiving.