Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

A Mother’s Thanksgiving

As a mother, every day is Thanksgiving to me. I am grateful when my family walks out the door at their varying times every morning and we all come back together for the mad scramble that is dinner each night. Amidst the kids’ taunting, the whining about science fair projects, and me on the very brink of falling apart myself, I stop to take note that everyone came home in one piece. That alone makes it a good day.

As much as I nag about my son’s socks on the floor, I’m thankful they’re still size 2 and even more so that they’re still here, in my home. He’s only on my watch for so long.

I can’t stand to see the teeny, tiny trinkets that cover my daughter’s dresser, a housekeeping nightmare. So often I skip right over the menagerie and save the dusting for another week. Still I smile when I examine each one closely and remember how I would have wanted a half-inch glass turtle as a seven-year-old girl. One day curling irons and pictures of boys will replace them.

When my nine-year-old son asked when I planned to stop reading to him at bedtime, my heart dropped to my knees. It’s the time of day when we can still snuggle like we’ve done since he was young. We talk and giggle and for a few minutes, he has no show to put on for anyone. Toughness and independence left at the door, he enjoys our time together. I’m not ready for it to end, but that day will come soon. For now, I’m ever so grateful for each night that he doesn’t announce our ritual is over.

I’m grateful for a daughter who puts her brother in his place. She’ll be a tough girl who doesn’t take it from anybody. And he’ll be a better man for it.

I love starting my day with a chaotic send-off to school. And just when I think everyone is too busy for good-byes, my son always turns back, buries his head in my gut, and hugs me tight. Then my daughter squeezes me with the strength of a python and bolts out the door, skipping and jumping.

They’re not too old for me, not yet.

For every meal I silently bless and sprinkle with a bit of hope that everyone will eat it, for every afternoon that I am grateful I held myself together when both kids pulled my emotions in every direction, for every odd and scary health mystery that turns out to be gas or eczema, for every tear wiped, for every hug, for every kiss, for every loud howl of laughter, for every moment of quiet broken by shouts for me, I am so grateful every day of my life.

turkey

I have a feeling my thankful thoughts are different from this guy’s.

20 Comments

Filed under About Mom

Still Time for Adventure

“It’s real smooth,” he explained. And so was he, my brother-in-law talking me into riding a roller coaster over Thanksgiving break. The Alpengeist. I watched as it looped and twisted through the night sky, dozens of feet dangling in midair while hands braced the harnesses that kept occupants inside the car at all times.

I knew no one else would ride with him so I agreed. I like roller coasters, the ones that aren’t scary, but I really feel like I’m getting too old for this stuff. I don’t think my heart can take it anymore. I knew the ride would be quick. I just tried not to think any more about it.

As our turn approached, I made two requests: no front row and I had to have an inside seat. The less I saw of the ground and the fact that I was nowhere near it, the better.

When we boarded, two gray-haired men took the seats next to us. They were father and son. The son kindly tucked in his dad, put his hood on him, and asked, “Dad, are you OK?”

My brother-in-law turned to me and said, “Do you scream?”

I said something like, “Uh, you better believe it.”

I locked my eyes on the row in front of me and as the coaster started downward, let out a scream that lasted half the length of the ride. More screaming followed. Panic set in. I couldn’t tell whether we were up, down, left, or right. Could this entire ride be upside down? What was this? When would it end?

When we finally stopped, my trembling fingers couldn’t undo the harness. I could barely stand on gelatinous legs. As we walked to our family, the man who had been sitting next to me turned to me and said he was 87 and he just thought he’d try it. What?

If I hadn’t had a mouth full of cotton, I would have asked him a hundred questions. He seemed OK. And except for my screaming, he probably had a great ride.

My kids, mother, and sister wanted the verdict. “Mommy, did you throw up? We heard you screaming. We can’t believe you rode that.” Very funny. This ride is touted as “one of the tallest, fastest, most insane coasters in the world.” I’m convinced.

I’m not adventurous or spontaneous. I’m a hardcore planner and I painstakingly think things through. I don’t care for adventure that takes my breath away, but every now and then I can be talked into something stupid. There have been times when, through sweaty palms, knocking knees, and not being able to catch a breath, my prayers have included more than a few curse words. But I feel like sometimes you get a free pass when panic sets in.

Deep down, I know it can be a good thing to make sure there’s still blood pumping through your veins, that it hasn’t seized up like water in molten chocolate. I need to know my heart can take a jolt, especially with teenagers coming my way in four years.

So maybe I shouldn’t write off adventure yet. Maybe there will still be hope for me at 87, and my kids will still be able to talk me into a little something stupid. What will I have to lose? Maybe nothing but a pair of false teeth.

8 Comments

Filed under Everyday Life

The Top 10 Reasons I Can’t Wait to Get Home From a Trip

Our recent Thanksgiving trip reminded me of the joys we face each time we travel. We do it to see loved ones. We do it for fun. We do it because we can’t spend 365 days holed up in this house together. Why not take our craziness on the road, spend a load of cash, and wonder why we don’t do this more often? That’s what I’m wondering by the end of every trip….

10) My daughter, who can hold it all day no matter how much I beg, suddenly has to go when we’ve reached the rural part of our trip and no businesses can be seen for many miles.

9) When the cooler is empty, the kids can’t agree on which disgusting fast-food restaurant we’ll dine at. Then whoever picked it will inevitably not like their dry, crusty meal. Someone always has to return to the counter for sauce, and the workers don’t see you standing there no matter how long you patiently wait.

8) At any roadside location the bathroom stalls, hardly large enough for me to turn around and squat in, can be excruciatingly small when you are trying to avoid the liquid on the floor, cover the seat with tissue, and keep your daughter’s pants from touching anything. Somehow I have managed on past trips to hold an infant on my hip, expertly maneuver button and zipper with one hand, and keep my toddler standing and out of said puddles with my patented whisper-scream all in this 1-foot-by-1-foot space. Oh it can be done.

7) The kids fight for the top bunk, bottom bunk, left side of the bed, or right side of the bed, and the loser makes sure the night is ruined for the rest of us. One kid wants the light on; one wants the light off. One wants music on; one does not. Just GO TO SLEEP!

6) The later the kids go to bed, the earlier they wake up in the morning.

5) Forgetting my husband’s deodorant means he has to use mine. He smells lovely and breezy for a few hours. When I use my tube the next day, I find some really, really long hairs glued to it. Gross.

4) No matter what thrilling event you have spent hours planning for the next day, the kids will gripe that it’s boring and their feet hurt, and you can forget any educational stuff you looked up. They don’t want to hear it.

3) The last hour of the trip, they must ask every two minutes, “When are we going to be there?” Now I know how my dad felt.

2) When we finally pull in the driveway, the kids can only carry one thing and they both have to go to the bathroom—the same one—at the same time.

1) Man, I don’t care how much laundry there is. There’s no place like home.

8 Comments

Filed under Can't Get a Break

Thanks a Lot

This is the time of year when we’re supposed to stop and count our blessings. As parents, we know better. Most of us pause several times daily, thankful for every little thing we have.

In honor of this holiday, I’ll tell you some of the many things I am thankful for.

I'm grateful for seeing the beauty of the world through my kids' eyes.

My husband. My partner in the perils of parenthood. I can’t count how many times he has walked in on the tail end of a flaming tantrum after work, and instead of walking out the door, he takes it like a man, often the hero of the hour. “Daddy!” All is often suddenly good with the world. He does the dishes, then plays with the kids for an hour before bed. No computer, no cell phone. Real quality time with his family, whatever the night may bring us. I am grateful for this man.

I am thankful for the two spirited, smiling beings who have stolen an incalculable amount of sleep from my life and nearly every inch of freedom with their demands and the insane amount of thought I feel compelled to give them. My kids, who from day one have been harder to figure out than any math class I have squirmed through, have upended my life so incredibly that if I really knew what having kids was about, I may have never wanted to have children in the first place. The rewards: Just hearing the word Mom is good for me.

As a mom, I’ve wished away many fevers, cuddled sick babies, and worked myself into a frenzy over the countless horrible diagnoses I’ve given my children from the Internet. I’m thankful that my children are healthy.

I’m secretly grateful for hurts only cured by Mommy’s hugs, books that are better read by Mom, and unexpected hugs. When my kids give me their worst, it’s these little things that get me through. I am grateful for every one of them.

I am so incredibly thankful for friends who can relate, who can laugh at our misery, and who don’t even flinch when I tell them we’ve just infected them all with strep.

I am thankful for the food we eat, the meals I slave over that the kids sometimes stick up their noses at and squirm in their chairs over and make an otherwise lovely meal unbearable.

Our home, though often cluttered and never glamorous, keeps us warm, comfortable, and safe. It is filled with love and silliness and often more dirt than I can keep up with. But I am ever so grateful.

I’m thankful for laughter. We make time together as a family. We play together. We eat together. We do so much together that we drive one another crazy, but we can always make each other laugh. It’s the unexpected that keeps us going, like when my husband tries to lick the cinnamon roll icing off his plate without being caught or jumps in the car and locks it during a rollicking game of tag. (Well played.) Or the many moments when the kids say something so out of the blue, there is no other choice but to laugh, no matter how inappropriate.

I’m grateful for family. We don’t have any family nearby, but emails and phone calls keep us connected until we can meet in person and remind each other of why we’re all so crazy. Darn those blood lines.

Being a mom has been so much more challenging and sometimes more painful than I ever imagined. I honestly thought it would be a breeze. Then I realized you can’t mold people. They’re already who they are and you have to learn to deal with their idiosyncrasies from the start. But I’m grateful that every day is new, my kids don’t hold grudges, we forgive, and we love.

5 Comments

Filed under I Love Those Darn Kids