Yesterday, we braved the torrential downpours and headed to the airport on what is purported to be the busiest travel day of the year. In August with the new school year looming, I went into my annual mental breakdown/depression and decided it was time to book a few vacations throughout the school year so that I had a little island oasis here and there in the dessert of the daily grind that was about to begin. I set my sights on the first official holiday of the school year with a healthy two days off abutting a weekend: Thanksgiving. One of my oldest and best friends lives outside of Washington, DC, and we had toyed with the idea of heading down there this fall to see a pre-Broadway tryout of the new Idina Menzel musical. I called her up, asked if we could kill two birds with one stone and take the trip over Thanksgiving weekend, received a joyous agreement, booked the flights, and entered the date on my countdown app on my phone.
Our friends go all out for visitors, even ones like us who would be perfectly happy hanging out in our pajamas eating take-out pizza just to enjoy the company. Instead of just lounging, they pull out the good china, buy out the local Harris Teeter, and keep us sated with delicious home cooked meals and lots of wine.
As I sit here sipping my berry-flavored mojito punch, my soul is further warmed by the environment: a fire crackling just a few feet away, the kids playing nicely with each other and our friends’ ten-year-old daughter, the aromas of Thanksgiving dinner filling the rooms, and best of all the good company of amazing friends that we see far too infrequently.
I grew up with a huge extended family, six aunts and uncles on my mother’s side, four on my father’s, and lots and lots of cousins. I loved those family gatherings when I was a kid, and it’s something that my own kids won’t ever have with only one uncle and two cousins to share between them. On the days leading up to this trip though, our kids’ eyes twinkled with the excitement of seeing these friends, and I am so glad to know that the extended family we have created for them is one that is just as rewarding as any biological connection. As they grow older, it will be nice to talk with them about how this family of ours mirrors the way in which our own immediate family was constructed.
This is what I am thankful for today. And tomorrow, I will be thankful Idina Menzel. Woo-hoo!