It’s 4:41AM. I’m up dressed, vaguely made up (OK, OK, it’s what was left on my face when I went to bed last night, freshened with some new blush and powder…), and waiting for my dad to cook me breakfast all so my mother, my aunt, my two young cousins and I can hit the After Thanksgiving Sales.
The ONLY time I do this is when I’m home for Thanksgiving. It’s not a drive I have unless surrounded by the other women in my family. Today, we go in search of outrageously expensive yarn that’s on sale for an extravagant amount, preschool board games, and some panties that don’t hang off my backside. Well, that’s what I’m searching for. I’m not sure about anyone else. Although it seems to me that panties that stay put would be a perk for anyone.
Our turkey day was good. We all gathered together at my aunt and uncle’s house and gave thanks, broke bread, picked a carcass clean and then rounded it all out with green bean casserole and copious quantities of pie. Mmmm…pie.
Living in Minnesota, we’re thousands of miles away from family. Most of the time this is not a burden. It gives a lot of freedom–freedom to make our own plans, to establish our own traditions, to stay in our pajamas all day without fear of one of our mothers just “popping by for a minute” and being shocked to find the entire Familia Beege still looking pretty much the way they did when they rolled out of bed that morning. It also means that we have no free babysitting and that Linnea is largely unfamiliar with large portions of her extended family (these, quite frequently, are downers).
But we’ve been on our own so long we don’t really miss not being near family. It’s just our life together, and we’ve managed to make the best of it. When my MIL or SIL say to me, “I don’t know how you manage to raise Linnea without any help!” I think, “First of all: I’ve got help if I need it and Second of all: I have never known any differently.” Sure, it would be nice if when Linnea gets sick we could drop her off at a grandma’s house and go on our merry way like SIL and BIL do. But we’ve NEVER had that. We’ve always had to make the necessary adjustments and adaptations and work together to make it work. Far from being a bad thing, I think it’s made M and I better parents and better partners.
But yesterday, sitting in a cozy room, surrounded by cousins and aunts and uncles and wee girl kidlets, laughing when my uber-manly cousin used the term “blousing” when he described why it was OK that he wore his undershirt tucked into his sweatpants because he always “bloused” it, sipping a lovely warm spiced cider and knowing that even if I had no earthly idea where Linnea was or what she was doing: someone did, and would deal with whatever might come up that needed dealing with–I realized I do miss family. Mostly just when I’m around them, which is nice–I’m not pining away for it–but it IS a hole in my life.
But not for a few more days. 🙂