In years past, my husband and I have spent our holidays with his family in one way or another, but this year we went to my childhood home to celebrate- not just Thanksgiving, but my nephew’s first birthday (more on that in another post!).
It was a beautiful weekend, even following an 8 hour drive (3 of which consisted of New Jersey Turnpike traffic). I have not seen my nephew in a long time, and his size, strength and teeth were amazing to me! He is such a BOY! His energy, love for my sister (and brother-in-law), curiosity of all things with hinges (see: pinched fingers) and how fast this year has flown all made me thankful for one encompassing person: my Mom.
Ever since I can remember she has welcomed home boyfriends, friends, strangers and their friends to gather at our home and celebrate the holidays. She sets the table for Passover, Easter, Christmas, Thanksgiving and everyone’s birthday. She hosts showers, Democratic meetings and Skype family visits. This season is no different.
As we all celebrated Mark and Addie’s first Thanksgivings, I held on to the flashes of my own youth. Running around in footie pajamas. Falling in and out of sleep while listening to the only person still cleaning this kitchen- Mom, of course. Watching the first round of Christmas movies play on TV and a new tradition (I hope lasts!): Upper Moreland WON the Thanksgiving game! Addie loved the game so much, she fell asleep.
There was the attempt at real turkey, as well as the sweet potatoes and cranberry jelly (oh, the sugar!).
She wore her new dress, and fell fast asleep in her thankful pj’s. I only wish Dave and I had some that said “Thankful for Addie”.
For the first time in a couple of years, I brought myself to visit my Dad. As I talked to him, I held Addie close to me. I told him she was little. I told him how much of a sucker he would be for her. I knew he was hugging us right there. I felt him holding her up for me. When I started to sob, Dave held Addie and told her about my Dad and about me. My Mom held me. Crouched down in the cold I waited for my tears to stop. Being a parent is hard.
I put Addie down in the grass, and she was pensive, like she knew she was on sacred ground. Then, she smiled. She had just met two great men: her Granddad and her Uncle Jonathan, both gone before she could meet them in this life. We got into the car, I took a deep breath, checked the rear view mirror for my beautiful girl, and we continued our day.
The hardest part of the holiday was going home.
We got back in at 1am. As I placed my foot on the bottom step of my own home, I expected it to creak, like the one at my parents’. When it didn’t, my heart fell a little.
I hope that someday Addie has memories like mine. Something that reminds her to come home. That home is always home, no matter where you pay your mortgage.