I love Thanksgiving. I’m really looking forward to tomorrow. Ian’s coming home for the weekend.
We aren’t allowed to know when Ian officially ships out to Iraq because any information that could lead to an ambush or any kind of sabotage is classified. But he took a gamble and bought tickets home for Thanksgiving day in the hopes he’d still be in the country, and it worked out.
Typically we team up for the Thanksgiving meal with our neighbors across the street, which works out nicely since the amount of food we want to indulge in is easier spread out between two families. Our neighbors are kind enough to host and do the turkey and cranberries and corn and rolls, and we do pies and appetizers and mashed potatoes and green beans. This year my parents are coming (it’s late Wednesday night and they should be here any minute!) because they didn’t want us to feel too alone. When they found out Ian was coming, they told me they would leave town earlier than planned so we’d have time together. I’m trying to convince them that if they really want us to have time alone, they need to stay! Ian and I will simply be buried under a heap of kids all weekend if no one takes them for a bit, and I really want to be able to finish a sentence or two with my husband before he has to fly back to Louisiana.
The kids are excited. Aden had her harvest play at school this afternoon, which was incredibly sweet. She was a pilgrim, and their play was interesting because most of the Native American characters in it were not happy, and some of the pilgrims were distrustful. It was refreshing to see an elementary school class acknowledge a little reality in a Thanksgiving play. Made me like their school just that much more. We had a minor nut allergy moment during the feast afterward, but resolved it quickly. (I reminded Aden that she can’t trust other people’s cookies no matter how tempting they are. A tough lesson when chocolate chips are involved.) I got to steal Mona early from her kindergarten class to join us in the snacks, and Quinn was just thrilled to be doing something in the big kid school for the afternoon. They were all proud to tell people that their daddy would be joining us for for Thanksgiving.
After school we went to the violin store where I met with a couple of customers while the girls made things out of paper (Mona does lots of birds and turtles) and Quinn ran in circles. We headed home and after dinner and baths I got to work on some projects and pies. Aden wanted to help, and it was one of those moments where I was proud of both of us. It would have been very easy to just brush my daughter aside in favor of simply getting things done. I’m far more efficient cooking alone, and when she asked if she could roll out the dough herself I hesitated. The part of me that wanted to get the pies out of the way started to tell Aden, “No,” and then I had sense enough to tell that part of me to take a hike.
What on earth are pie baking tradition moments for if not to share with your kids? We had a blast. Aden peeled all the apples and I cut them up. I told her how her great-grandmother had said the secret to a good apple pie was to cut the slices thin. But her grandmother had taught me the secret to a good apple pie was to keep the slices thick. My lesson to her was that apparently you can’t mess up an apple pie based on how thick or thin you cut the apples. Aden rolled out the pie dough herself, and the first time it came out weird but we made it work. The next one came out better, and the last one was excellent. She opened one too many cans of pumpkin, so we have extra deep pumpkin pies this year. Mona wanted to crack eggs, so I had her do it in a separate bowl in case we needed to fish out any bits of shell. Turns out we didn’t need that precaution because she did a perfect job. Mona also measured sugar and sang songs to us. Quinn was just happy knowing all of this activity would result in pies. It’s so easy for me to forget to slow down a moment and let them help. There are days I don’t have time for it, but I’m thankful for evenings like this where I’m able to be the mom I want to be.
As I’m finishing up this post, the pies are cooling, the girls are in bed, and Quinn is passed out in my arms. (Typing is not easy like this, but how many years are left where he’ll fit in my lap at all?) My parents will be here soon after a long drive from Detroit. They love us a lot to travel in rainy darkness for so many hours.
And by this time tomorrow I should have Ian by my side. I am so thankful for that opportunity I don’t even know how to express it properly.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, everyone! I wish everyone as much to be thankful for as I have.