Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Good Time Was Had By All

I am a reluctant traveler. Sure, I fantasize about visiting far flung locales, but I am all talk. A four hour drive to a place where I am welcome (and expected) to spend most of my visit in my pajamas is taxing enough, so visiting a foreign country would be a little outside my comfort zone. Thanksgiving is the only holiday I spend away from my adult home. When I was pregnant with Violet I bid a tearful goodbye to Christmas travel. I made a bargain with the vomit-inducing bean in my belly, that if she could just let Mommy digest enough food to stay upright, she would never force her to wake in a strange bed on Christmas morning. It was the first and most painful sacrifice I made as a parent, because even though I HATE the drive, I LOVE Christmas Eve at my Grandparents' house. Of course, the family dinners of my youth are all but a foggy memory and surely not everything I made them out to be.

The past couple of years have been difficult as far as family togetherness goes. Everyone has been grumpy and unable to find common ground. The tension over the turkey was THICK last year. It is always with a mix of dread and hope that we approach our trip home for Thanksgiving. When things are good, we all have a marvelous time. When things are bad, people threaten to defect to their in-laws' house for the next holiday.

The planets aligned for Thanksgiving 2008 and we acted like a normal family for the day. The boy cousins who had drifted apart through starkly different high school experiences, were busy talking shop about how to keep their respective jalopies up and running. Violet held court with the younger boys and filled the house with her giggles. Everyone talked and ate and teased each other like the "old-days". I am grown-up enough now to realize that the good old days are a figment of nostalgic imagination, but we came pretty close to that this year. I think we had a collective epiphany about the state of the world and decided to be thankful for the imperfect love of family. A good time was had by all and now the Heathen Family introverts are recovering from all that lovely conversation and laughter with a much needed week of napping.

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