Our thanksgiving started Wednesday night at a German restaurant. My sister flew in from Arizona as a college freshman and my Dad made it back from Florida just in time to meet her. This post isn’t going to be about the perfection of our holiday by the way. This post is the real deal….what our Thanksgiving really looked like. You see tuesday night I got a call from my Mom explaining that my dogs were not welcome to Thanksgiving at her house. That seems like a reasonable request but unfortunately she waited till 24 hours before I packed up the car to let me know. This meant the vet was full and we had no other options. So that dreamy plan of grabbing the kids from school, picking up some hot chocolate while signing Christmas carols all the way to Springfield was a thought in the past. (as well as a little unrealistic) Instead it was a call to my husband explaining that we will be doing a whole lot of driving on Thanksgiving day and then a call to my Dad letting him know that we are actually in town instead of out of town and asking where he wanted to meet for dinner.
Growing up as a child of divorce I have spent my life trying to balance my parents and families. It is never easy. My sister said it perfectly yesterday, you always feel like you are missing out on something. True words. I have realized there is no way to make everyone happy, I do what is best for my own family hoping that I make each parent feel loved and important in the process. Thankfully I have other siblings that fill in any gap that I might leave nicely.
Instead of leaving after school for Grandmas house I drug the kids and my husband out of bed at 4:45am Thanksgiving morning and we drove through the sunrise to get there as my family was waking. My husband complained the majority of the way but I reminded him how peaceful the car was with 6 sleeping kids. Peace in our blue suburban for 3 long hours is virtually unheard of.
The day was great. Family pictures and good food. Announcements about the future and an over all appreciation of just being together. As we switched out of Thanksgiving clothes and back into pajamas we climbed into the car for the trip home. Pillows and blankets stacked in every corner and arguments of who sits where and by whom. The trip home consisted of fighting over pocket video systems and stomach aches. “He is gross” and “he stinks” probably explain it the best.
We made it home only to rise early and decorate our home for the holidays. Pots simmered on the stove with homemade soup, with a kitchen filled with family. Some kids never even made it out of their pajamas. Christmas lists were made and fulfilled on Amazon. Funny how shopping has gotten as easy as a google search and a click of a button.
As we piled back in the car yesterday for my most favorite day of the year my husband and I toasted each other while the boys argued and declared how their parents are ruining their life and we smiled. This might not be Norman Rockwell but this is ours. 13 years into this journey of raising 5 boys and 1 girl have taught us a couple things. The first is make your plans as easy as possible for our own family and the second is to enjoy the good when it comes. Holidays, vacations, Saturdays……they all sound good and dreamy but they are hard. There is a lot of work that goes into creating awesome memories. The funny thing is that after spending the whole day in the city from the Kris Kringle market, the Annie Musical and dinner our kids complained all the way home. Complained because they couldn’t order chocolate cake. Complained because Annie was not their first choice. Complained because the day was over. Once again we looked at each other and smiled. I reminded him that 3 weeks from now they will look back on this day and be grateful for the good. They won’t remember how Ryan stepped on Seans face as he climbed in the backseat or how Grace hit Patrick with a DVD box in the lip and made him cry on the way to dinner. All of that forgotten. What they will remember is how lucky they were to see a play every year at the beginning of the holidays. They will remember how this tradition brings our family together and when they have their own kids they will realize just how hard it is to take kids into the city on one of the busiest shopping days of the year. They will remember.
Life can not be as perfect as the picture looks, it is not realistic and better yet it is not real. It doesn’t mean we don’t try. I go to bed every night grateful for the opportunity to try. I dream about new memories and that is good enough for me. All we can be is our own best.
I am looking forward to savoring every second of December 2014 the good and the bad.
Hope you all had “your” best Thanksgiving! OX Katie