It is early in the morning of Thanksgiving and I am relaxing in a seaside hotel room an easy drive from all of my kids.
It snowed at my house yesterday morning, but I managed to get out of work on time and drive from one side of the state to the other without incident. The snow had stopped, there was a little bit of rain on the way, and it is predicted that today will be dry and in the 40s (comfy boots and pullover weather).
I will visit my youngest in the morning and watch the Macy’s parade on television with him. He lives in a pediatric nursing home now and, in all likelihood, will still be groggy when I get there at 9 in the morning. He is 20, after all, and likes to sleep in.
The nurses’ aids will be good company for him after I leave because they love him dearly and he is an appalling flirt. I don’t know how someone with the developmental age of 5 or 6 months can tell who is under the age of 30 and who isn’t, but he can.
In the afternoon, I will drive up to my eldest daughter’s house and, hopefully, not sit in traffic. I made her promise not to hold dinner for me under any circumstance. I will not be the cause of dinner drama if some dinkus decides to make I-95 a parking lot in the middle of the day.
She is newly married and she and her husband are the owners of a tidy cottage and nearly as many animals as I had children at their ages.
My kids are a lot smarter than I was in my 20s and 30s.
My younger daughter is bringing the pie and my older son should also be there if his car cooperates.
I appreciate them taking on this rite of passage.
It is difficult to keep up with tradition (or what we imagine tradition should be) when the holidays are bookended by work and other obligations that aren’t conducive to family life. Or, as many of us have come to learn, sometimes it is better to start new traditions.
If I could do it again, I would have said “No” to work more than I said it to my kids. I would have spent more Thanksgivings around my own kitchen table and fewer in hospitals and ambulances (although I do miss community dinners cooked at the fire station for shut-ins and other lonely people).
I could have done a lot of things better, but I guess I must have done something right if I am welcome at my kids’ tables.