Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Be thankful

It's that time of year again.
The winds have turned cold. We're waiting for the first snow of the year. Frozen turkey bowling balls have appeared in the stores once more. We're inundated with sale ads and Black Friday ads and commercials for hugely impractical toys.
We also see those images of perfect Thanksgivings.
You know the ones.
The TV shows a four year old dressed in a sweater and tie, sitting perfectly at the table and using his knife and fork with a prowess Emily Post would praise. Beside him, in an antique wooden high chair is his sister, dressed in spotless taffeta and lace and not a speck of food has missed her mouth.
Grandma and Grandpa, aunts and uncles, all sit around the table as mom brings in a perfectly brown, perfectly garnished turkey. After the perfunctory peck on the cheek from her husband and the adoring gaze she casts at him, he prepares to carve.
That's what the TV shows.
My life looks more like this.
Punk is sitting a high chair, her hands, face, hair, and surrounding covered in a film of stuffing, potatoes, cranberries, and drool.
Boo is sitting at the table, clad only in a pull up (saves on laundry) shovelling in devilled eggs like they are the last layings of the last chicken on earth.
Bug is sitting in a chair, probably in his underwear, picking out one piece of food and studying it like a specimen under a microscope before declaring it's "Yucky."
The Man is trying to inhale food between talking sports with my brother, whose walking by sneaking additional bites.
My nephew will be on his third plate before we've each filled our first plate.
I'll be repeatedly asking, in a more high pitched and shrill voice, for the kids to eat their dinner with their forks and to "Act like they have some manners and belong to the human race!" There will be no adoring glances, just reminders that "These are your children, too, you know!"
My sister in law will be picking the skin off the turkey or the oysters from the stuffing while plotting a post holiday shopping trip, complete with diagrams.
And my mom will sit there with a bemused smile on ehr face, watching the chaos and enjoying it.
And somewhere, probably near the ham, the memory of my Daddy will sit, laughing at us, urging the boys to be louder and messier and sneaking Punk little bits of food.
While I'm celebrating my not so Walton's Thanksgiving, I hope you have a day blessed with joy and love and plenty of good food.
Just remember, it's not about the perfection of the day and the Polaroid moments, its about the smiles, the laughter, and the love. Perfection is highly over rated and the leading cause of ulcers in mothers around the holidays.

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