I’m excited, and a little bit scared, about Thanksgiving.
I’ve had dreams of the turkey suddenly jumping up. It runs up and down the table, at first entertaining us all with a Broadway song and dance number, it’s trussed little feet tapping to the tune. Then the wings start flapping and the damned thing is all over the room.
Thanksgiving is a big day for me–it’s one of the few when I get my entire family. My children, my nephew, my daughter-in-law, niece-in-law, two great nephews, and, this year, Jeremy (my daughter’s boyfriend, the family loves him to pieces!) and his children, my cousin-in-law–a very favorite relative, along with his wife–a best friend before they were even married–and their three children, and three friends. We’re headed up to the Dolphin at Disney where we’ve spent many a holiday. (Working holidays, but hey!)
We used to try the restaurants, but that entailed a lot of rushing around, a lot of standing around, and, usually, harried service and not the best food. Thanks to Joe, we now have the meal catered to the room which makes it nice–home away from home. When traveling with toddlers, this is a great plan. When the toddlers get restless, they can move about, they are not locked into a high chair, or in a position where they’re driving the wait staff crazy. I like it. No, I love it.
So why the nightmares about the turkey?
I’m afraid. Very afraid. We put a great deal of expectation into holidays, and forget that each person remains an individual with all the quirks and personality traits that make them–well, individual. I want everyone to be happy.
Twenty two people.
Some rise early, and some don’t. Some can’t wait to get to the parks, and some couldn’t be bothered–they want to vegetate. Some are compulsive, some are, to be kind, a bit piggy. So, speaking of Disney, I think of something that Jefferson says, paraphrased, in the American exhibit at Epcot. “Trying to get thirteen clocks to chime as one is hard enough . . . .” Jefferson goes on to say that one stroke of his pen brings about a hundred changes from congress. Hey, things don’t really change.
I have twenty-two clocks.
Here’s the thing–my clocks will probably be just fine. They won’t chime as one. Whoever wants to do whatever will do it. The parents of small children will be with their kids in the parks early, they’ll be at different parks, but they’ll be happy, and each group will do what they choose. Shayne is a loner sometimes–he’ll take off by himself to do something if no one else is interested. Derek and Zhenia now live in Connecticut–she dreams of going swimming. Some of us will head to karaoke at the Swam–where they also have super sushi. We’ll trail in at different times at night, and often wind up down in the twenty-four hour buffet.
But I can’t help thinking about my dancing turkey.
It’s not the end of the year yet, but I’m still reflective on the year. In many ways, it’s been a difficult year, personally. I–and the publishing community–lost a best friend, and a brilliant editor, Kate Duffy. We lost Pablo the cat, and Chloe, the albino skunk. Pets don’t compare to a person, but they are still gone for our lives, and since we’ve lost family as well, we know the difference. I’ve had wonderful times with my family, and with my many writing groups. I’ve traveled new places, been up and been down–oh, and in the accountants office about five times with the IRS.
But it’s Thanksgiving. And I’m grateful. I’m grateful I was blessed to know Kate, grateful for the friendship and the many favors she gave me. I still buy broccoli for the skunk, and then remember that she isn’t there, and I miss her on my lap when I’m typing. We didn’t have Jeremy in our lives until last February, and he’s a wonderful addition. I may be going through the audit from hell, but my IRS agent is a doll, helping me comprehend what I’m doing–and what I’ve done wrong, and how to fix it in the future. Most of all, I have the people in my life, and I have a career, doing what I love.
Anyone who knows me is well aware that Martha Stewart would definitely have nothing to fear from me. I am the worst housekeeper, and a “real” dinner party means buying the good, plastic coated paper plates. I am accustomed to large numbers; my brother-in-law called me “dial a party.” But I do have that thing that so many of us seem to have–it’s the mother syndrome. Somehow, we must make everyone be happy at every minute. So I worry.
But I’ve got it covered–when the bird starts flying around, I’ll put on the soundtrack from Peter Pan, and we’ll watch it go. And, actually, once, at 3:00 on Thanksgiving, twenty-two clocks will chime as one when we sit down to Thanksgiving dinner. And I’ll be grateful for those twenty-two people, and grateful for the cacophony of sound! Thankful, just like the pilgrims, that my parents came to this country, and my holiday will include a bevy of nationalities. I’m going to be so glad that we have Thanksgiving, and doubly grateful that I have the privilege of being neurotic and crazy, and having the luxury of wanting not just survival, but happiness. The glass is looking awfully damned full.
I don’t think the turkey nightmare has anything to do with Thanksgiving day. I think it’s all about trying to get the Christmas card done. Most of our Christmas cards could be labeled “bah humbug!” cards. Trying to get all those people to smile at the same time . . . .
Well, that’s a challenge!