Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving and Three Heads and A Habit of Gratefulness

I always have this idea that Thanksgiving is going to be one of those calm holidays where we bond as a normal family with a long car ride, and I don't know, stories of how wonderful our lives are or how wonderful something is. It seems that other families are driving into New York City all calm and happy with children coloring in the backseats. Maybe they are just better at using silence as a cloak of dsyfunction. I'm not sure. I like to think that's what it is.

Our holiday began normally enough. We were within an hour of our time to pick up the kids' grand uncle. (Yes, he brought his hair clipper so my husband could clip his ear hair - if you are familiar with this blog, you know Uncle Jack's ear hair cutting is a somewhat unusual, but expected, holiday tradition - if you want to really, really stretch the word tradition)

Around ten minutes into the ride, Emma asked me how many fingers I could hold from my hairline to my eyebrows. I sort of didn't want to answer, but I did. "Umm, four."
"See, that's my whole problem. I can only hold three fingers there. I don't have a forehead. I have a three head. And that's what aliens and cavemen have."

I turned to look at her brothers who were very, very innocently gazing out the window.
And our usual wildly weird conversation went on until we reached Grandma's. That's when I thought I'd take some nice holiday pictures. Here is a lovely shot of Philip growling while Christopher politely tries to duck the camera:

And here, poor Philip looks like he needs corrective surgery.
 But it was at some point during the dinner, maybe when I realized they were actually pretty nice kids when people other than me spoke to them, that I realized I have to stop thinking about the serene families. I'm lucky to have them. They only pass the green bean casserole and whisper, "Some vomit in a bowl?" to each other when no one is within earshot. And even though they never colored or sat quietly, they do all pile in the car and endure the strange conversations of their elderly relatives (yeah, it's about that, complete with amount, consistency and frequency) without batting an eyelash.

We will probably never drive down the road without our minor battles and our own brand of three headed weirdness, but at least we are all together and we are all talking. It's really corny, but I like that Thanksgiving reminds everyone that we should be in a habit of gratefulness rather than think about it only on one day.


Anonymous said...

YOur kids really are nice, Anne. I think they are coming out just wonderful. Your not so bad yourself, you know -- N.F. (Nanci)

Anne Spollen said...

Thanks, Nanci -- nice to see you on line!

Medeia Sharif said...

I enjoy the togetherness of the holidays. I don't know about the long car rides, though. I'm the type to always ask, "Are we there yet?"

Mary Witzl said...

We may be having a house guest at Christmas time, a wonderful girl a few years older than our eldest, whose equally wonderful parents I've known for decades. My kids are panicked: they're afraid they won't measure up to her effortless goodness and perfection. But most of all, they worry that their weirdness will stand out. I ought to tell them about your kids and your grand uncle -- those stories would cheer them up considerably.

I've just finished reading 'The Shape of Water', and I enjoyed it so much. I wonder where books like that were when I was growing up because they would have helped A LOT. We had our own words for people who were 'standard'. We weren't standard, but I probably don't need to tell you that.

Anne Spollen said...

Medeia, I think being trapped in a car for long periods of time is a test of some sort -- how long can we be normal? Or act that way? But yeah, I like the togetherness of the holidays the most of anything about them.

Anne Spollen said...

Oh, Mary -- effortless goodness? I'm afraid of that, too. I find prolonged houseguests really, really difficult. So hard to be polite and nice for that long!

I'm so glad you enjoyed Shape of Water! I don't know where books like that were when we were Magda's age -- maybe that's why I wrote it - to fill that gap.

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