Just another belated thank you

Posted: December 6th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Extended Family, Holidays, Husbandry, Miss Kate, Paigey Waigey Wiggle Pop | 1 Comment »

It’s so funny how some parts of the country find other parts of the country totally random. I mean, everyone in California who’s asked me what we’ve done for Thanksgiving–who I’ve told we went to Kentucky–has found that so utterly bizarre.

I’ve gotten everything from, “Kentucky, eh?” to “Who or what is in Kentucky?” to the more blatant, “Why the hell where you there?”

The thing is, to people living in Kentucky, it’s not random at all. And when you’re there, surrounded by verdancy and horse farms and nearly pickled in good bourbon, it seems like the only place on earth. Plus all the women do that great thing where they lambaste someone for gaining weight or being married to a loser or wearing the wrong lipstick color, then tack on a “bless her heart” to the end of their insult. It’s like this instant karmic re-do that takes away the meanness of whatever catty comment you hissed behind someone’s back.

It’s brilliant really.

So here it’s over a week past Thanksgiving and finally I’ve scrounged together a few minutes to reflect on all that this hand-tracing turkey-drawing stay-at-home mother is thankful for.

For all those who couldn’t imagine what we’d ever be doing in Kentucky for the holidays, the answer is attending the legendary Miller Family Thanksgiving (patent pending). Us and some 24 other attendees. This year it was hosted by Mark’s wonderful Aunt Terry, who we just love silly.

Early on in Mark and my relationship–back when my desire to stave of my pattern of serial monogamy made Mark fearful of using the term ‘relationship’ with me–we made an unspoken but gravely respected pact about holidays. July 4th was mine, and we spent it in Bristol. Thanksgiving was his, and we spent it with whomever from his mom’s family was hosting.

No exceptions. No substitutions.

Luckily, both events have never failed to offer exceptional family time and entertainment value, along with an excessive dose of food and alcohol. We both look forward to these holidays immensely even though lugging two children to them these days threatens to test our loyalty. (The fact is, kids or not, we’d walk across hot coals to get to there, though it’d be Mark who’d be humping all our luggage across his back and I’d just be pushing the girls along in the stroller.)

And after one week in Kentucky–yes, you crazy Californians we even spent a whole week there!–I’m not annoyed, bitter or resentful of the thing it is that Mark takes me to. In fact, I enjoyed myself thoroughly, thank you. And feel blessed to be part of such an amazing family as the Miller clan. (And please don’t take my use of the word ‘clan’ in the wrong way, people. Sure we were in the South, but these folks all voted for Obama, okay?)

So where was I? Oh, the Millers. Yes, even if they do like to look at a lot of pictures of themselves, then take pictures of themselves looking at pictures and play slideshows of those pictures (“Here we were yesterday after dinner, looking at the photo albums…”)–even with that, this is a rare breed of family who truly enjoys being together. And who makes a mean corn pudding.  

When in Lexington we stayed with Mark’s childhood friend Ewa (pronounced EV-ah) who is a brilliant doctor, wonderful mother, and a sheer delight–all this and she shares my Polish heritage, so what’s not to love?

Ewa and her also-a-doc husband recently completed construction on and moved into a lovely megalithic horse country mansion. We were thrilled not only to be able to see it, but to have our two daughters help them break it in.

Driving there late on the night we arrived was honestly a bit freaky to me. I mean, this is COUNTRY people. No street lights. Long silent horse pastures surrounded by those white wooden fences. Not a homeless man rattling past with a shopping cart for miles and miles–counties even. I mean, this was decidedly NOT Oakland.

But once I shook off my freak-out I settled in nicely to the regal splendor of pitch dark silent nighttimes in the manor. Ultimately the effect was as calming to my hyper persona as 75 deep-breathing and om heavy yoga classes. Though maybe it was all the bourbon that helped me sleep so well.

Despite all the house in the house we were in, we weren’t the only guests, so Mark and I and the girls were piled into one room together. Something I was a tinge fearful of in terms of our collective ability to get shut-eye, but which worked out swimmingly.

And one night, when we’d gotten back from Aunt Terry’s late, we settled both the girls down and Mark crawled into bed. I was taking my time brushing my teeth and such, even flipping through a Sports Illustrated of Mark’s, hoping to find some celebrity trash–enjoying a rare moment of aloneness. Finally ready to get in bed myself, I turned out the bathroom light and cracked the door into the bedroom to tiptoe in.

As I crawled into bed and snugged in, from the deep country silence I could hear the measured beats of Mark and Kate and Paige’s slow sleep breathing. It made me so happy–so supremely blessed and thankful for my wonderful little family–that I could have almost cried.

Here we were, surrounded by a mega mansion, but happily camped out together in one room. I thought of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, of how that poor family lived together in a wee cramped house–even all sleeping in the same bed. If we weren’t blessed with all that we have, and we just had each other and one room to sleep in, with this family of mine I’d be content. More than anything in the world, I am thankful thankful thankful for this sweet wonderful little family.

And now here we are a week later, with holiday madness well established and my ability to get back to that happy sleepy place often compromised. In fact, right now I hear Mark wrangling on the phone with a customer service rep about a tie and cummerbund that was supposed to arrive today. Although I know he’s in a fury over it, how silly lucky we are to have such problems.  

I know it’s late to the game to send my Thanksgiving reflections out to the universe. But I figure it’s in line with the timing of all my other thank yous these days. Despite how it tarnishes the good etiquette my mother beat into–I mean, raised me with–an ungodly amount of time always seems to pass these before I get my thank you notes out the door.

I’d use my two small kids as an excuse, but I know that’s really no reason for poor manners. Unfortunately I just haven’t been able to make giving thanks my priority these days.

Bless my heart.

1 Comment »

One Comment on “Just another belated thank you”

  1. 1 Drea said at 6:54 am on December 8th, 2008:

    It’s never to late to give thanks, my dear. So heartfelt and lovely!

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