When I was a kid we’d have these epic Thanksgivings with like thirty relatives and we had two or three tables strung together and I loved it.
It was like the Thanksgivings you’d see in the movies.
Over the years, our Thanksgiving celebrations have dwindled down to less and less people.
Relatives moved away, great uncles and grandparents passed away, and little by little the gatherings have gotten smaller and smaller.
This used to bother me a lot because I’ve always loved those big, crazy family gatherings.
And I really wanted to give those same experiences to my kids.
But you know what?
My kids don’t really know what they are missing because they don’t have that frame of reference.
And for the first time today, rather than being bummed that we were having a small group — eleven people which, for some people would not be small — I welcomed it.
Having less people means less stress and less potential for people to annoy/disappoint/piss you off, and less potential for drama.
Because those things can also accompany larger gatherings.
So today I embraced the less chaotic, more simplified day of thanks.
And I’m glad I did, because Number 5 woke up sick at 5:30 a.m., so that already threw an unexpected wrench into the day.
I got her and Number 6 settled with Christmas movie on the couch,
and I started the day off with a workout.
I got to work in the kitchen.
Number 7 was thoroughly disturbed by the uncooked turkey.
I went for a run later in the morning (more about that tomorrow) and rather than stressing about taking a shower and getting dressed before people came over, I peeled potatoes and did stuff in the kitchen all sweaty and in my running clothes.
Eventually I took a shower and got dressed.
My parents came up, and all the kids were home, so I just enjoyed time with my mom and dad and the kids all laughing and hanging out.
And there was a lot of laughing and hanging out.
You know that movie with Diane Keaton and Craig T. Nelson and Sarah Jessica Parker and Dermot Mulroney and Luke Wilson and Rachel McAdams?
The Family Stone?
I LOVE THAT MOVIE.
And that is what I have always envisioned holidays to be like for us one day.
And today was kind of like that.
Minus girlfriends and boyfriends.
It’s bittersweet to have the kids getting older, but it is also so much fun to relate to them on more of a grown up level.
So anyway, it was really nice to observe the kids and listen to them interacting with each other.
Number 7 came home from school on Wednesday very excited about an activity she did in school with her class.
Each kid in the class got a turkey, wrote their name on it, and then put it in a pile on a table.
Then everyone picked one turkey, and you had to write something kind about that person on their turkey.
Number 7’s said, “You are a really good smiler.”
But she was so excited about this, and she really wanted to do it with her family, so she asked my dad if he would help her, and being the world’s most awesome grandpa, my dad said of course, and they traced and cut out eleven turkeys.
Then Number 7 found eleven pens and gave everyone a turkey.
Number 7 handed out turkeys to everyone once we all wrote our names on them, and when we were done writing something kind, we all read what our turkeys said.
I was busy getting food into the dining room, so Number 7 wrote my name on my turkey.
How cute is that?
Anyway, we might have started a new Thanksgiving tradition.
After the kindness turkeys, we all ate.
(notice one of THE ROBES made it into the picture – hahahhahahaaaa)
It was super cold in CT today. The first really cold day of the season.
I bundled up to take a walk after dinner, and Number 7 and my husband came with me.
We walked down the road to one of my favorite places.
We saw the moon rising on the horizon.
It was perfect.
When we got back home we ate too much pie, and then we cleaned up.
Okay, my mom really did most of the cleaning.
All the leftovers were packed up and put away.
And rather than putting a turkey carcass in the fridge with plans to turn it into stock and never getting to it and then throwing the whole thing away, I threw everything into the stockpot tonight.
Everything was done and wrapped up by 6:30, and the little guys were in bed by 8:00.
It was a nice, simple, mellow, fairly healthy Thanksgiving.
And while I miss those huge family gatherings of forty years ago, I wouldn’t mind having a few more like this one, either.