I got to spend Turkey Day with all of four of my kids, and their mom. It was, without a doubt, a treasure. I regret not taking any photos, but I was having a blast just being IN the moment, you know?
My oldest was there, and we talked about his ridiculous work shifts, and his dog, and politics, and philosophy. He was handing me words when I was struggling to find them, and talking about how far he’d come in forming his own views on things. I was bubbling over with pride, and was so happy to be able to just talk with him.
My second-oldest was there, and while he mostly hid in his room and played with his new Switch, he and I shared some memories about him growing up, and he mentioned that I was still sort of one of his Dads. It came from him without prompting, and took me completely off guard in the best of ways.
My youngest son was there, helping out in the kitchen, and with the pets, and sliding in a snarky comment here and there. He landed several good roasts, and helped me assure his mom that the food was, in fact, going to be just fine, even if there were a few hiccups along the way.
My daughter was there, cuddling with the puppies, cuddling with me, making jokes and talking about the Switch she wants for Yule. She insisted on tickles, and showing me some of the gymnastics moves that she could still do, despite no longer being in class.
We all ate together, most of us way more than we should have. We barely scratched the surface of what had been cooked. Some leftovers came home with me, because no one loves marinated mushrooms as much as I do. Or stuffing. Seriously, I will fight you for stuffing.
The drive home was filled with both the warm glow of everything I’d experienced, and the dull ache of not having the kids coming with me. I don’t know that I’ll ever get used to it, and I kind of hope I don’t. As after-school-special as it sounds, I’ll let the ache remind me how precious every moment that I spend with my kids is.
Oh, and the smell of the leftovers. That was there in the drive home, too. Mmmm, leftovers.