Sunday, November 20, 2016

Can I keep a secret?

I have a secret. By the way, I stink at keeping secrets but it’s safe to divulge this one now because the cat was let out of the bag shortly before you read this.

There's something about having that savory tidbit hanging on the tip of my tongue that makes it difficult to hide my excitement. Spouse has heard me say many times that I won't be divulging whatever little surprise it is until just before it happens, but inevitably I blurt it out under the pretense of, "I don't want to mess other plans up." Yeah, right. This explains why my parents took to spelling things out when I was very young so I wouldn't know about birthday or Christmas presents, and resorted to spelling them backwards at one point.

Back to the secret. Ready? Spouse and I are going to be spending Thanksgiving with First and Second Born and The Groom, but the girls don't know it yet. In fact, I'm counting on everyone to not tell them before we get to surprise them with it Sunday afternoon. I can’t even describe how happy this makes me. Well, I can but that would be another whole column.

As time goes by and our kids have started doing their own thing, it’s already becoming more difficult to spend holidays together. When Spouse and I were dating and for the first several years of our married life, we spent the holidays bolting from one house to another. It usually went something like this: Thanksgiving dinner at my parents’ house, and a second dinner at his folks’ house, then Christmas morning and breakfast with his family, dinner with mine. It was exhausting and sometimes not much fun, especially because Spouse’s gang was very relaxed and stretched the day out while my parents were more rigid about having dinner at a certain time - and also not very good about sharing us. It wasn’t until we moved to Maine that things had to change, simply because we were no longer ten minutes from our family homes.

As much as I love the meaning, wonder and spirit of Christmas, I am a huge fan of Thanksgiving. As a family, the four of us would start the morning off watching the parade on television and sharing a big breakfast together, then having dinner later in the afternoon. It was a no-rush day and I didn’t care if I had to make macaroni and cheese or peanut butter and jelly for a fussy kid while Spouse and I enjoyed turkey and all the trimmings – we were together.

The reason this trip to Atlanta is happening is because Spouse doesn’t want to have to put up with me after not seeing one or both girls for an extended amount of time. Even though we’ve been lucky enough to see Second Born twice in the past few weeks, our last visit with The Love Couple was when we helped them with their move from Philly to Atlanta in April. That means it’s been seven months since I’ve seen First Born. I usually start sending that “I want to see my kid” vibe around month four. You can see where my partner is wise to typically consider making plans around month three for us to plan a trip.

We broke the news to the girls by showing them this column just before talking to them... they were definitely surprised - though The Groom was in on it (and he only slipped with one comment that put First Born on semi-alert, but for the most part he did a spectacular job of not spilling it, considering he’s just one step above me when it comes to keeping secrets). Now it's less than 24 hours before we're all together, and I am beyond happy.

May you each have much to be thankful during this holiday. For me, getting ready to spend the week with my family makes me feel a kid at Christmas. Even better than that - I’m a mom at Thanksgiving.

We won't be dressing like this for Atlanta!

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