It is just short of midnight and I am still kind of wound up. I am not sure when Thanksgiving turned into such a big production. I can’t quite put my finger on when it meant enduring a crazed marathon of chaos and cacophony.
Most years it is held at my parent’s house. It is the house I grew up in so it is filled with memories. I still venture into my old bedroom. My parents have turned it into sort of a den/office. It has a desk, a computer and a flat screen on the wall. Pretty different from the various posters I once had and the men at work sign I put on the ceiling. (Point of information- it was a construction sign that had nothing to do with the band.)
Sometimes I find myself wandering through the house looking for my grandfather. It is 18 months since he died and yet I still expect to find him sitting in his chair. Every now and then I am surprised that I haven’t heard him yell at the dog to get out of the way.
Speaking of the big lug it is times like this when his absence is even more noticeable. It used to be that you didn’t worry about dropping food. We didn’t care when my baby nephew through food on the floor because the furry vacuum cleaner would get to it before we did.
Some things have always been the same. My parents kvetch at each other about a few little things. My mom yells at my sisters about doing more to help and my dad tells me to stop aggravating everyone. With a twinkle in my eye I beg my father to send me to my room and he mutters something about disconnecting the computer and the flat screen.
Dinner is loud. There must 287 people stuffed around three tables. I try to sit at the kids table and am scolded by my six year-old niece for being too big. My three year-old nephew thinks it is great. He and his cranberry filled hands are only too happy to pat me on the back.
It is loud, really loud. I have a grandmother and a sister who wear hearing aids and a grandfather who probably should. One of the 929,983 kids turns on the television and 290,873 adults yell at him or her to turn it off. Instead of it being turned off the eldest nephew deftly turns on some kids show and now the 929,983 kids are assembled in front of it.
This raises a dilemma. They’re relatively quiet and occupied. Do we mess with the quiet and insist that they visit. They’ve been hanging out together since the day before, having all survived the sleepover at grandma and grandpa’s house.
My two remaining grandparents are relatively quiet. Just short of 94 it is clear that they are slowing down. They still interact with us all. They’re happy to play with the kids and want to know what is going on in our lives, but still, I see that they are getting tired faster than they used to.
In the kitchen my mother is yelling at someone. She is not really angry. This is her “I am really tired voice.” I suspect that one of my brother-in-laws has been caught trying to sneak a piece of pie before she is ready to serve dessert. He should have asked me for my assistance. I am an expert at smuggling a pumpkin pie into the service porch where I can sample the wares before they are placed for all to eat.
Suddenly I realized that my mother is yelling at me. She suspects that I have tried to use the BIL to do my dirty work. Note to self, mom hasn’t lost a step. She remembers all of my tricks so I need to keep coming up with new ones. In this case she is wrong so it is easy for me to smile and say that I am innocent.
BTW Mom, if you ever read this, I did get a piece of pie. Remember the pie box that looked like someone had accidentally dumped upside down, well you did tell me to take care of it. I shouldn’t admit this here, but that cool whip that you saw on inside of the box didn’t get there because someone dumped it. It was intentionally smeared there.
Amazingly enough the kids make it through the night with minimal fighting. Not too shabby considering how much time they spent together. My three year-old nephew is fearless and tried to take on my almost seven year-old son. Nephew didn’t fare as well as he thought he would. His big brother is very tolerant of his shenanigans. His cousin is not so tolerant, but was careful to try not to hurt the three year-old.
My daughter and niece beg me to play makeup and dress up with them. Thankfully there isn’t time. It is far too late and I take the kids home. But something tells me that tomorrow they’ll hit me up early in the day. Uncle Jack doesn’t look great in drag, but I wouldn’t want to disappoint the kids now would I. Maybe we’ll take pictures.
Then again maybe I’ll consider moving to cleveland. I am spent. Time for bed. See y’all in the a.m.