I hated Thanksgiving - large family gatherings with tons of pressure to eat foods that freaked me out. I did not like turkey (still don't, much). I didn't like mashed potatoes. The combination of sweet potatoes and marshmallows was and is nauseating, to me. I couldn't touch green beans with almonds and fried onions. Any form of vegetable casserole scared me. The only cranberry relish I have ever enjoyed, and this just came with adulthood, had a boatload of jalapenos involved. The only pie I have ever craved had the words key lime in front of it - no pecan, sweet potato, or pumpkin for me - they were and still are as frightening as the vegetable casserole. Stuffing smelled good, but the inevitable discovery of a stray caraway seed in the sausage or a sliver of green onion ruined the appeal and I was left with the one food on the entire smorgasbord I was able to stomach - the roll. With lots of butter, of course.
As I grew older I learned to place a variety of foods on my plate and sample each one to the point of politeness, but have never stuffed myself to the fullness that seems to embody the holiday. Watching sports for the rest of the day? Yuck. I'd rather clean out a toilet with my bare hands.
So you can imagine my delight during the summer vacation Russian Roulette scramble when, for the first time in my three years of private practice, I missed out on Christmas week, New Year's week, and even Spring Break. Thanksgiving was still open, and loomed over my head for a couple of rounds until I finally decided, why not? My kids are in private school, so Monday and Tuesday were just daycare - an opportunity ripe for spending one on one days with each of them while the other got to play with their friends. When you are a single mom, one on one time is a lot harder to come by, and the kids ache for it.
So here we are - a few days into my week off of my most detested holiday of the year. And surprise! We've had a blast. The kids loved picking out their afternoon activities - mornings I engaged them in running errands with me. On Monday Jack was a perfect gentleman helping me out with groceries and dry cleaner clothes. He's really stepped up in the last few months and enjoys being the helper in the house - one afternoon when I first moved to the new house a couple of months ago I was cooking dinner and turned around to find him consulting the picture instructions for putting together a vacuum cleaner I just bought. He amazed me by getting all the small parts in the right place and plugging it in for a test drive without any cries for help.
After our errands we went to buy new shoes and finished the afternoon at the movies. Sicily's day on Tuesday was equally productive - we spent the morning getting together bags from the attic boxes for Goodwill and the afternoon shopping for tiny Christmas trinkets for her and Jack's classmates. Managed to squeeze in a little shopping for her - there was a 40% off sale at her favorite store.
My ex has the kids for Thanksgiving this year - it's all spelled out in the divorce papers. I worry a little about Sicily weathering the food pressures on her own but at seven she's already got more backbone than I ever had at thirteen. So I think she'll be OK. We've got a fabulous brunch filled with all their favorite foods at my Mom and Dad's on Friday, and full weekend plans with friends.
Thanksgiving. My big holiday this year. The most detested *gasp* turns good. Who knew?