Another Thanksgiving is done and gone. My Thanksgiving week was uneventful, typical, wonderful. We spent the holiday at my parents’ house and it struck me as I was in my childhood bedroom- I have spent every single one of my Thanksgivings either in this house or at a local family member’s house- except for the one semester I spent in London. That is almost 40 Thanksgivings, just like this one. I know things will change soon, and a new tradition will rise up where this one once was. I am grateful for the lovely ordinariness of this week. A few details, for the memories.
1. The stunning riotous color of the trees on the four hour plus drive. It is a long and boring drive, an hour too long with little kids, but I was startled by the beauty the entire time. I swear I have never seen such color in Texas. I’m not sure if it’s a change in weather patterns- usually it is hot and then it is cold but this year we’ve had more gradual and earlier chills- or if it’s that I’ve never noticed it before. But I cannot remember such showy and glorious fall color. I don’t know how people that live on the East Coast get anything done, being surrounded by something so beautiful. The whole weekend I sounded like a broken record- “LOOK at that tree! It’s so beautiful!” over and over. I have approximately 200 pictures of trees on my phone. The earth is amazing.
2. On the drive we let my son have the Ipad for the entire drive, whereas he usually has limited screen time. I have mixed feelings about this- on the one hand, it gives me peace on the drive. But on the other hand, I have wistful memories of staring out the window on long drives, of composing stories in my head, of daydreaming, of just having time to think. At one point in the drive, I looked back and he was staring out the window, almost listless, which is rare for him. I asked if he was ok, and he said “I’m great Mom, I’m just dreaming.” Beyond grateful for daydreaming, and that my son has found it for himself, and that all this technology hasn’t completely dulled the urge to dream.
3. I pulled something in my upper back on the morning of our drive (I think I actually pulled it trying to put on a damn Lululemon tank in the dark when I wasn’t quite awake- those things are evil). Regardless I could barely move, couldn’t lift my arm, couldn’t turn my neck. I had a gym appointment and went anyways, almost in tears. Luckily they have a PT on staff and he worked on my back to the point where I could manage to make the drive home. So grateful for his expertise, and for his help.
4. My back was in bad shape from Tuesday till Saturday. But the best thing about being home is that my parents are there. And no matter how old I get, they still take care of me. I am ever so grateful for my mom and dad, for letting me sit on the couch with a heating pad while they entertained my overexcited, wild children. My mom made me dinner, my dad handed me a glass of wine, but more importantly, no one made me feel bad or lazy for just sitting there. I am grateful parents never stop being parents, and that mine take such good care of all of us.
5. There is a wooded area behind my parents’ house. My son calls it the “spooky forest” and is relentless in wanting to go down to the spooky forest, everyday, twice a day if we let him. He is very into police and forest police and the army and he likes to go hike the small trails and pretend to be on patrol. It’s adorable- but someone has to go with him and no one wants to. My dad took him, my brother took him, and finally one day it was my turn. It was one of those stunning days- warm, cerulean bright blue sky- and I had no reason to say no. We set off, my husband, me, my two-year old with her three loveys, and my son in his ranger hat and his homemade badges. Luckily we had the good sense to just wander and enjoy it and we went deeper than I ever had. It was so beautiful back there, and I almost missed it. We met many dogs and horses, saw squirrels and birds and animal tracks. We found a tree with a huge hole in the trunk that looked like it was straight out of The Hobbit. We found a park and wide open fields and shaded twists and turns. It was spectacular, and it’s right in my backyard and I never knew. What a miracle that no one has torn it down and built more houses. Grateful my son forced me into the most beautiful walk. Grateful I slowed down enough to notice it.
6. My favorite part of the holiday was putting the kids down, curling up on my parents’ big, cozy couch and watching a movie with a glass of wine. This year I watched Planes, Trains, and Automobiles for the first time. It was as funny as promised, and Steve Martin and John Candy were a magical duo. But what I loved most was that the whole point of the movie was just to get home and be with family. The very last scene is simply Steve Martin’s wife coming down the stairs and seeing her husband with tears in her eyes. They embrace and that’s the end. No need for big action or for a come-uppance or anything monumental. Grateful for movie-makers like John Hughes, and so very sad he is no longer with us- what an amazing talent.
It was an absolutely ordinary Thanksgiving, but one for which I am profoundly grateful. We saw family and a new baby, we laughed and shared stories and drank wine. We watched football and movies. We let my kids stay up too late and have pie before breakfast and let them crawl into bed with us when they woke up far too early. We got my parents’ tree out and began decorating for Christmas. Goodbye Thanksgiving 2014, it was a good one.