November 23, 2006

Thanksgiving 2006: Creating Ghosts

Several times in the past decade I have gone with my best friend to her parents' home which is just outside Twin Falls, Idaho. Originally, it probably started out of pity, and although Twin Falls was a good 5-6 drive from where we lived in northwestern Nevada, it was still a lot closer than going to my parents' home, which takes nearly 12 hours to reach. That's just too far for a 4-day weekend.

In subsequent years I've looked forward to a Twin Falls Thanksgiving. A big family dinner with some real folks. Early morning shopping for the good deals. Firework display on Friday night. Nightly domino games. Putting up Christmas lights outside. Well, the putting up the lights is not that enjoyable because it's usually "cold as a frog's nose," but we worry about my friend's parents trying to decorate outside when it's cold and slippery. Anyway, it's always a relaxing, enjoyable time.

It was in my plans to take the kids (computer tech hubby is on call for businesses that probably aren't even open this weekend) and go to Idaho for the weekend. The kids were excited because my friend has a dog and they are dog-crazy, and they were anticipating some snow on the ground that they could play in. We bought them new hats and gloves (the selection here in Las Vegas was terrible) and warned them that it would probably be cold. The kids, sick and twisted as they are, relished the idea.

And the plans were in place until Wednesday afternoon when I picked my stepson up from school and he looked like he'd been run over by Mack truck. I'd felt my holiday weekend--only the 2nd vacation I've taken out of town this year--slipping away throughout the week as I tried to nurse my stepson back from the dark side of a cold. I thought he was doing better, but you know how colds and oozy infectious 5-year-olds can be...a pain in my arse.

Not to mention, detrimental to my holiday fun.

So after a long wait at the urgent care clinic with a sniffing, oozy, swollen-eyed child, a quick trip to the local drugstore, and then the battle of the medicine spoon which resulted in us wearing $4.00 worth of medicine, I found myself at Albertson's in the 'hood at 9:00 pm with tons of other people trying to scrimp together a Thanksgiving dinner. Losers.

In my adult life I've rarely had to cook an entire Thanksgiving dinner myself. I've helped. I've contributed to potluck. I've simply shown up to eat and then helped with clean-up later. Today, in a true miracle that I hope my family can appreciate, I put on the whole Thanksgiving dinner from cranberries (homemade) to pie (bakery) and set the table with fancy glasses and cloth napkins.

(No, I didn't cook a whole turkey because I may be with a legion of losers, but I'm not a damned fool who needed the hassle of thawing a 20 lb turkey overnight. We had a lovely breast roast of turkey.)

I complained to my mother on the phone how I hate this stupid holiday and how my Thanksgivings always had to flop, but for my family I put on my happy face and sucked it up. It seems like being a mom is just one bitter pill after another. I wonder if moms who actually give birth to the children they are raising ever feel this way, or if it's just that I was rather thrown into this life.

I do know that I'm giving it my all to put a positive spin on all these constant glitches. We had all the windows and doors open today for a nice meal and a relaxing afternoon. Napping, movie-watching, goofing off...It's not what we expected, but it wasn't terrible, either.

Yea, nothing caught on fire...

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