Thanksgiving is a time when we celebrate togetherness and tradition. Its a nice, consistent holiday. We, as in the collective we, have slight variations, but for the most part, have one consistent Thanksgiving experience…food, family, maybe a parade and football.
Except this year, Thanksgiving is a bit different for my family. A stomach bug is making its way through my young kids this weekend so our traditional trip home to Ohio and Thanksgiving plans have been changing frequently. To put it bluntly, the plans have been changing with each new victim’s trip to the restroom. This Thanksgiving my family is under a voluntary quarantine and having just the opposite of togetherness and tradition.
So these past few days I’ve been doing what I do: flexible mothering…doing laundry, comforting sick kids and trying to enjoy some unexpected downtime and embrace the all of the inconsistencies, despite missing the one day a year when we all allow ourselves the indulgence of consistency.
After a few starts and stops, we did make it to Ohio and have hopefully not left too many family members in the wake of our sickness contamination. So a day after Thanksgiving, on what is now called, “Black Friday”, I find myself sitting in my childhood bedroom with a toddler snoring in the crib next to me.
This is the room that as a kid I’d wrestle with my head gear as my mind flopped focus between the ache in my adjusting jaw and the growing pains in my lanky legs. This room has pink flower wall paper and a chair rail because I proudly flexed an adolescent decorator muscle. Its in this room that I stretched the phone cord so tight that the door would close and I could say naughty things to a high school boyfriend. I played Barbies here, listened to Chicago 17 sing about Inspiration or Billie Joel’s Uptown Girl on a Fisher-Price record player in this room. I’ve stashed away diary entries, notes from friends, college text books and record-of-the-month catalogs in this room.
Its also in this room that while unpacking luggage my husband found himself in a rare alone moment with my dad and took the opportunity to ask for my hand in marriage. Almost a year later I’d spend a sleepless night in this room tossing and turning, going over final details and arrangements for my wedding the next day.
Over the next decade, we’d drive home from Washington DC and have a bit too much fun reunioning with siblings, cousins and old friends and so in my twenties, I’d crash in this room and sleep in until well past the sunrise.
In my thirties I nursed my babies in this room, changed their diapers in this room. Its in this room that I felt safe enough to have a true and complete breakdown two months after my second child was born still. I’ve admired both my teenage body in this room and studied a foreign postpartum body in this room.
I’ve stayed awake all night reading captivating books like the Boleyn Sisters or Gone Girl in this room, a luxury I would never afford myself in my own adult home.
And its in this room that I afford myself, another luxury tonight at 1am …a chance to sit and reflect on this location and be thankful for all of life’s consistencies and inconsistencies and a chance to wonder if the fact that turkey just doesn’t sound that good to me is because a Thanksgiving feast really isn’t that delicious unless it is actually consumed on Thanksgiving Day….or if I’m about to get the kids’ tummy troubles.