We did our Thanksgiving dinner tonight (Wednesday), rather than tomorrow, because My sister, Lisa, Dash, and Mark are going to Florida tomorrow. My parents will go to the lake. Todd and the kids and I will go to Auburn for Thanksgiving with his family, and perhaps take in a little bit of Auburn ass-whupping at the hands of Alabama.
Lisa and i think there should be a law that we should get to ditch our husband’s families during holidays, and just hang out with each other, and have a nanny, and drink wine, eat chocolate pie, and play Russian Rummy or poker all night.
This never happens.
What happens is my kids drive me nuts, and get all cranky, because they are all revved up on candy and chocolate milk and whatever-in-god’s-name-else Grandma gives them, and they throw fits, and I get really self-conscious about my parenting in front of my own parents, because my kids are acting like complete nightmares. Meanwhile, the dogs (there are at least three running around at any time) are stealing food off the baby’s tray, and making the kids cry, and barking at every leaf that falls out of every tree, and eating turkey bones out of the trash, which I can’t find a man to take out to the garage to save my soul.
I am trying to stir giblets and gravy so it won’t burn, heat up turnip greens in the microwave, cook three different casseroles at 350 degrees, shoo my Scotch-soaked father away from the kitchen, and get him all he needs to carve the turkey (“Mouse, there is a right way to carve a turkey and a wrong way; I learned the right way from Daddy- He worked at Morrison’s.”) While doing this, I am also sending my sister to set the table, swatting Rollie’s hand from the turkey plate, batting Jack Russell Terrorists out of the air as they jump for the turkey, taking out recycling, answering texts and calls about dinner timing, and making sure a toddler doesn’t plunge headfirst down the stairs. I break up fights. (Rollie and Tiller over what shows to watch, Tiller and Dash over the stuffed animals, dogs over chew toys, mom and dad over dad being dad, me and dad over dad being dad, Rollie and Dad over Rollie’s Matchbox cars.) I admonish Todd for riling dad up with pointed political discussion.
I drink a never ending glass of wine, but also have a cup of coffee going on the side. I have been reheating the same one since we made a pot after lunch.
We finally sit down to dinner, and everyone complains, then dad does the blessing and Rollie cries, because HE wanted to do the blessing, so we do second blessing, and I look up at my brother-in-law, who makes a point of not bowing his head, because he is an avowed atheist and pretense is anathema to him. I roll my eyes. No one sees. Todd gets possibly unreasonably mad because Tiller spills her milk and then we have to make her a whole new plate and get her a new milk. She cries in shame because for a week, we have been talking about having Thanksgiving dinner with the adults at “The Big Table.” She brightens at the new plate as if nothing has happened.
Dad recites from memory the poem that my grandfather recited every year at Thanksgiving, the poem he learned at Berry School for boys, when he went there as an eleven-year-old orphan in 1927.
We all make an attempt at reverence. I have the urge to cry, i am so tired and worn out from Thanksgiving.
I don’t cry. I am thankful.
We sit around the table. Dash is in the highchair. We all put our arms up in the ref’s sign for a touchdown. We all say, “Touchdown!,” animated and loud. Dash thinks we are brilliant. He puts his arms up and yells, “Touchdown!” Kind of. We all clap and holler. He claps and shrieks in joy.
I thank God that I have my family and they are crying, laughing, fighting, drinking, eating, falling, muddying, snapping, and sharing.