We left for a 5-day weekend yesterday morning, to come up to our little cabin in the mountains of western NC for the Thanksgiving holiday. FIVE WHOLE DAYS just us, no classes, no work, no school. Something we’ve been looking forward to, and working for, for a long time. The holidays have begun!
I have definitely noticed the lack of my stories here on my blog for the past couple of months. It’s easy to lose this as a priority when I’m spending so much time in front of the computer already, and evenings of working turn into the middle of the night before I’m done. And I miss the ability to look back at my everyday stuff more than anything else about the past couple of months. So I’ll try again:
So Tuesday I went to get some warm clothes for the kids at “Old Maybe”, as Elliott calls Old Navy, and we went out to Red Robin. Ele wore his orange astronaut jumpsuit through the whole thing. I’ve always seen those kids out and about dressed in some crazy getup - shorts and boots and no shirt and a towel-cape or some such, and thought, now THAT is a cool kid with imagination (and a cool mama for letting them out!) Now I’ve got one, dressed in bright orange with a black belt and a space shuttle patch on the chest. Part of me wishes I could just take a PEEK into his future, to see whether his desire - more like a foregone conclusion - to become an astronaut really does happen. I have never met a kid who has been this focused on something for this long - going on three years of his 4 1/2 year life. It’s the second year in a row he was an astronaut for Halloween - white last year, and orange this year.
I decided that until a) we get more people for Thanksgiving or b) I learn how to cook, it’s not worth cooking dinner at home. When I was little (actually up until just a couple of years ago), everyone gathered at my grandma’s house every year, sometimes 35 people in the house, and it was awesome. Very different from our four-person feast of last year. So I made a reservation at a restaurant in downtown Blowing Rock called the Meadowbrook Inn. Jared and I have only been traveling one other time over Thanksgiving - the year before Rowen was born, we went to Chicago for the long weekend, and ate a GREAT buffet dinner in the hotel. I was, let’s see… 6 months pregnant, and we spent the morning walking around Chicago, stumbling into the amazing Christkindlmarket, and then heading back to the hotel for a huge buffet with carved turkey and all the fixings. mostly I remember eating myself silly and then staggering up to our room for a long nap. It was pretty much the most perfect thing ever. Hehe. So I was really looking forward to the not cooking AND the not cleaning up. :)
Tonights dinner was traditional Thanksgiving at our own candlelit table, with a bluegrass band playing. In addition to rolls, they had cornbread and buttermilk biscuits, and cole slaw, and black eyed pea cakes with tomato ginger jelly. North Carolina sweet potatoes. Smashed red-skin potatoes. Pork and turkey and cranberry sauce, and of COURSE pumpkin pie. It even started to snow a little bit while we were eating - just a flurry, but it was still so cozy and holiday-ish.
And best yet? We just came right home to our clean kitchen, got the kids in their PJs, played a couple quick rounds of Hungry Hungry Hippos, read our stories (Ele only wants space, and I’m reading Rowen Mr. Popper’s Penguins (thank you, Joan!), and the kids went to bed in their bunkbed room. The end. No dishes, no leftovers to manage, and only gratitude for our little family, snug in our little place here.
Now we’re sitting here in our room, listening to the beginning of Book 7 of The Wheel of Time on audiobook - book 7! I can’t believe we’ve gone through all of them! Book 12 just came out, the final book that Robert Jordan finished before his death, but I’m waiting to read it until Jared catches up, listening to the books with him. It’s a great read, and a GREAT audio book, by the way, if you love epic fantasy. I’ll say Epic again. heh.
Mostly tonight I feel like I can step back, SO grateful for this time in my life. Mostly, for my awesome little family - for Jared who is the most supportive, best friend imaginable. He’s sitting next to me working on the template for the new store. He is just like that - in his work, in his fatherhood, in his whole life simply conscientous and wonderful.
Rowen - learning how to read and write, appreciating humor and movies, and making up stories, loving every sweet thing: Fairies, clouds, ponies, hearts, rainbows, fuzzy things. She ate rolls, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin pie with relish today.
Elliott - with his huge bright brown eyes, in his orange jumpsuit more often than not, who can repeat the names of every planet in the solar system, plus random stuff like what’s the nearest star to our sun, the four largest moons of jupiter, and the difference between sunspots and solar flares, and at his Preschool Thanksgiving feast last Friday, when all the kids got to pick their Indian name, he chose (what else?) Little Solar System. He ate rolls and mashed potatoes, celery, crackers and fresh strawberries.
There are moments - often - that I wish I could freeze time and just keep these two like this forever. What would this mama do without the hugs and “I just LOVE ya, mama!” that I get? The easy forgiveness? The joy bubbling just below the surface, ready to boil over at the slightest hint of adventure or novelty. And the love. The sweet, unconditional love that is their greatest gift.
We asked the kids in the car on the way to dinner what they were thankful for, and Rowen said, “My family, our house, and Thanksgiving!” And Elliott said, “My family, and space, and Rowen.” And that pretty much sums it up. :)
I hope yours was awesome, too. :)