17 Heads & Way Less Beds

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Ah, Thanksgiving. You overwhelm me.

Nearly all of my Thanksgivings have been spent in a house jammed full of people. Spending a day surrounded on all sides by folks of all ages wears this only child out. 

When I was a child, we celebrated Thanksgiving 3 hours away at my grandparents’ house with relatives from places I’d hardly even heard of. I’d spend as much of the day as I could either sequestered away in an upstairs bedroom or outside in the highest branches of a tree. When nighttime finally came, the relatives, slightly pickled from whatever it was they’d been marinating in all day, would slowly filter out of the house. I’d tuck myself into bed and sneak a listen to Fox97–a now defunct oldies radio station. Each year, I’d patiently wait, feeling smug about my covert rebellion, until I heard the first few notes of “Abraham, Martin and John”–the song that to me finally signaled the end of another Thanksgiving. 

I’m not that good with crowds, even if they are swarming with one’s own blood relatives.

My grown-up Thanksgivings haven’t been much different:  the day is filled with folks of all ages and futile attempts at hiding. Thank goodness I am now old enough to partake in the human marination. Viva la vino.

We boarded the plane up to Virginia on Thanksgiving morning. This in itself was a huge victory seeing as the St. Christopher medal I wear on every single flight I take was sitting inside a safety deposit box somewhere in north Atlanta, not hanging around my neck for me to clutch like a crazy person. 

Y’all know I don’t like to fly, right?

Since Russ likes to be the first person on the plane, he and the boys practically sprinted down the jetway, dragging me along. We almost beat the pilot onto the plane. When he asked to slide around us, he also said to bring the boys over to visit the cockpit.

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I love me a kind pilot. He put the boys in the captain’s and co-captain’s seats and even let them pull back on the yoke and pretend to steer. Meanwhile, I kept frantically repeating, “please don’t touch anything! Dear Lord, please don’t touch anything!” while gripping and worrying the sheet of paper with my printed out St. Christopher (thank you, internet). The pilot, whose name I somehow never caught, glanced up at me, put his hand on my shoulder and gently said, “it’s all going to be alright.” I could have kissed him right then and there.

Funny how it’s the littlest signs of compassion that can make all the difference.

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Bolstered by my new found courage (for this flight, at least) and because it was Thanksgiving after all, Russ and I decided to have an adult beverage on the plane. So I was sitting in my seat sipping a Bloody Mary and simply holding–not clutching–my internet-blessed St. Christopher when Theo yelled out across the row, “Mama, why you like vodka so much?

Let the record state that this was the first liquor drink I’d had in well over 23 years. Not only has Theo never seen me drink vodka before, Russ hasn’t either. 

Leave it to Theo to make the comment of the holiday.

We tumbled into a house filled with family, and way too much time was spent doing this:

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5 (of the 8) kids, 4 (of the countless) electronic devices

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Minecraft online

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Football online

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Subway Surfer online

There are a few terrific family traditions over Thanksgiving while in Virginia. The Barracks Road Christmas Parade is certainly one of them. More beauty queens and rescue vehicles than you can shake a stick at. A truly scary Ronald McDonald (all Ronald McDonalds are scary to me by default of them being clowns…but this one is particularly eerie and pasty-faced). A giant dog riding a bicycle. Cloggers. People carrying banners advertising Smoothie King and My Gym.

But along with this menagerie of randomness comes hot chocolate. And the first glimpse of Santa.

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Yes, that would be a moose hat. Jack has barely taken it off since he got it (he even slept in it).

Back at the homestead, there’s more land to roam than the boys can comprehend.

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Each year, the tree fort gets a new addition–Tuck was pumped about this rope swing!

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It’s hard to beat a bonfire–unless it’s an all-day long bonfire.

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But Sunday eventually came, and “Abraham, Martin and John” played, and we headed home to our own beds in our own rooms. 

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This Thanksgiving was a good one. A really good one.

Now move along, Mr. Turkey. You had most of November…28 days of it, you big lard.

Christmastime is here!

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 “Why you like vodka so much?”

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