You could call this Thanksgiving a milestone or sorts. Obviously, it was Everett's first Thanksgiving with us (outside of my uterus), so that was incredible in itself. But this was also the first Thanksgiving that my husband and I haven't traveled in years, since we are living in our hometown for the moment. Not traveling on Thanksgiving is awesome . But - in tandem with that last statement - it was also a little bit awful because I didn't get to see my older sister for this particular holiday. I really really love my older sister. She's the most sane one of our bunch. And my younger sis won't take offense to that because we all know it's true.
But on this particular holiday, I wasn't just missing my sister. I found myself a little more nostalgic, a bit more weepy, craving the traditions of my childhood. Thanksgiving is the big kickoff to the holiday season. From here on out through New Years, everything and everyone is set aglow with a cheery magic. The holidays are always special because of the memories, right? Memories. Just strands of heightened moments; Snapchat-like vignettes, brightening the mind-clutter with crazy in-focus depth for blinks of time. I can easily conjure up these quick memories, like I'm pulling them directly out of Santa's hearty sack. I'm seeing the glowy faces of my sisters while we giggle at my dad's lengthy Thanksgiving prayer. Watching Stevie throw the football across the lawn with my cousins in the all-too-warm-for-this-time-of-year Georgia weather. I can remember the expression on the faces of our families when we told them, on Thanksgiving last year, that we were going to be parents. (To which Stevie's mom adorably replied, "You're going to PARIS??", because apparently the thought of us reproducing was the most unlikely thought crossing anyone's mind. Paris seemed much more tangible?) And suddenly, I'm adding to this endless list of magic moments - I have a gorgeous little son who is here to absorb all the traditions and all of our quirks and decide for himself how funny/dramatic/ridiculous/loving his family really is.
And one of the most stand-out moments this year? I will leave out the lame 30 minutes when we tried to take family photos for our Christmas card (see above. That's the real deal people.) What child actually participates well for that?? And I'll also leave out the night(s) that Everett decided to re-enact his 4-month sleep regression and hatred of the bottle, because you people have already heard me complain/gnash my teeth enough to that tune. I will even leave out the "how to cook a Thanksgiving meal while simultaneously entertaining a howling bored 4-month old" how-to (mostly because I don't have one - HOW DO PEOPLE HAVE MORE THAN ONE CHILD AT A TIME?!) All of these are good, funny, timeless memories. And I will store them right alongside the delicious moments where Everett just hung out, righteously enjoying family time, wowing us with his tummy time skills (somehow, that time is pure magic when it's your own kid.) Making us laugh with his chatting, cooing and chuckling, it's like he's already in on the joke. How is he doing this?!
These moments. This is the stuff of life. I am careful to remember, to both savor the moments and photograph the moments. I am tucking all of them away in the recesses of my mind like a squirrel packs his cutie cheeks with prized nuts and fruits and whatever else he finds especially scrumptious. But there was one moment, one particular occurrence, that has me both aghast and bewildered about this Thanksgiving.
It's when I realized that my son is actually watching, and enjoying watching, football.
"Ugh, puh leeze mommy, THE GAME is on."
My son watches football.
Let me explain the moment.
It's Thanksgiving Thursday. I come upstairs to find my dad, my husband and my son (in his bouncer) all watching a game. Like, he's WATCHING it. Engaged with the game. How the heck does a 4-month-old baby know to like football?? Which game, perhaps you're wondering? Gosh that is so unimportant to the story. I leaned down to my sweet son, whom I hadn't seen for the past 30 minutes, to give him some love and pet him and baby talk (I hate baby talk, but you literally cannot stop once it starts coming out of your mouth.) As I leaned down in front of him, to deliver my coveted love, I blocked his view of the game and he shrieked at me. Then started crying. THEN. He attempted peek around me, wriggling his body in his little baby bouncer seat in the greatest attempt ever TO SEE THE SCREEN. I gasped. My dad and Stevie's mouths dropped open, aghast (and let's be honest - SO PROUD) of what they had just witnessed. My baby son. Watching football. Didn't want to miss a moment of the action. Didn't want mommy's kisses. Didn't need mommy's love.
Can you feel me shriveling up inside. Because I've barely processed his birth, can hardly see straight from the insanity of sleep deprivation, and already he is separating himself, siding with THOSE MEN and leaving mommy's mushy affections in the wake. Of the football field. On the television screen. It is the infant equivalent of, (in a deep, dude-ish voice), "Woman, GET OUT of my way when the game is on."
So that happened. And that's how I am remembering this Thanksgiving.