Thanksgiving is my mother's favorite holiday. But not mine. I like the prep work, but the actual holiday has never really appealed to me. None of the beauty of Christmas, or the quiet peace of Hanukkah. None of the candy and spring time excess of Easter, or the spiritual meaning attached to Passover. It's okay. But not my favorite.
Sam was sick this year on Thanksgiving. We have a tradition in our family, girls and boys night is the night before. I always take my girls and sleep over at my mother's house on Wednesday night. We stay up late, prepping stuff for the next day, and talking and gossiping. Marc takes Sam and they go out for Chinese together and then stay up late watching what I call "inappropriate tv." We get up super early, and spend the morning eating and cooking and talking and Marc and Sam come down to my mother's house and we all have the holiday together.
But this year, Sam woke up and threw up all morning long, so he and Marc stayed home, and the girls and I had dinner with my parents and come home after. And because it isn't Thanksgiving unless we're all together, we're having a redo today. The turkey is in the oven, the kids are coloring placemats for everyone (we've got some friends joining us) and I've got Christmas carols on in the kitchen. And I'm glad, because it gives me a golden opportunity to think about one comprehensive list of what I'm grateful for today. So - in no particular order - here's a few of the many blessings I have to be grateful for this year...
- My husband. Marc and I will celebrate our eleven year anniversary in February, and I'm still so in love with him. He's my best friend, my partner, and the one person who's always, always on my side. He's brilliant and kind and funny and endlessly, endlessly devoted to our family. But more than that, he's just as goofy in love with me as I am with him, and that's such a wonderful gift.
- My Jessica Mary. She'll be ten in a few months, and my baby girl is growing up so much faster than I think she should. She was, and is, everything I always wanted in a daughter. All my hopes and dreams of being a mother paled in comparison to the reality, and she's the reason for that. It's better and more magical, more infuriating and harder than I ever dreamed. She's simply awesome, and I'm blessed to be her mother.
- My Samuel Earl. My boy child, my sweetest little love, and my right arm. He's the one who changed me, who stretched me and taught me and made me the mother I am today. He's my heart, in a very real sense, and I'm forever in awe of him. He's smart and sweet and so tender and vulnerable at times. Stubborn and determined and this little bundle of emotion and sweetness. Worships his dad, but adores me, and I'm blessed to have him for my son.
- My Julianna Ruth. My angel girl, my love bug. She's just so funny and happy. She's in love with the world, and delighted to be a part of it. She makes motherhood easy, and has from the very beginning. I was laughing as she was born, and it's still the way I think of her. She just makes you smile. She's cheerful and easy to please, unless you cross her, in which case, she'll kill you. Or at least try hard to. She's such a gift, such a perfect blessing.
- My stepdaughters, Lilli and Sarah. Being a stepmother isn't an easily defined role, and it's one that is different for each stepmother. But I think I've got it easier than most, because these girls are just a delight to me. And one thing that easy to define is the relationship between them and my three, and that is one of siblings. These two girls are their big sisters, best friends, mortal enemies and lifelong companions. My kids are blessed to have them in their life. And let's face it, my husband makes pretty great kids - and his oldest two are great examples. Smart, funny, kind. I'm proud to have them in my family.
- Worcester isn't my hometown. In fact, after living here for nine years, I still get lost more often than not, and think longingly of my little hometown of Maynard. But Worcester has a lot going for it, not the least of which is great schools, fabulous library, wonderful neighborhoods, Congregation Beth Israel, Charlotte Klein's dance studio, Troop 54 Boy Scouts and the Girl Scout troops. My kids live in a peaceful, pretty world, filled with dedicated adults and really good friends. I'm grateful for that.
My turkey smells wonderful, and there are potatoes and squash waiting in the kitchen for me to peel and prep. My kids are happy, my husband is enjoying his first day off in long time (because Thursday doesn't count, as he spent most of the day cleaning vomit). I've got a pile of new books to read, friends coming over this afternoon. I think I might do a Thanksgiving re-do every year. It might even turn into one of my favorite holidays too.