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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving by the Numbers

Thanksgiving is a time when we count our blessings.  In keeping with tradition, here is a compilation of blessings counted this Thanksgiving:

TEN—at least the number of gallons of gas it took to drive our rickety van down to my sister’s house for Thanksgiving dinner so that we could visit with the twins, the triplets, the in-law’s, the in-law’s new baby, the grandparents, and great-grandma, of course.  We made it without any breakdown incidents or popped hoses….other than a few pit stops for children with whoozy stomachs and one allergic reaction in my youngest son who broke out in hives after drinking five juice boxes (no, I did not give him those!). 

NINE—number of healthy friends who, after commiserating that we all overate several times this weekend, decide to motivate ourselves to waddle out our front doors, groaning, to meet, run four difficult miles, and create our own watered-down Cross Fit intervals at one mile stops.  Did we overdo it?  You betcha.  I am waddling still, but in pain now!

EIGHT (dollars)—overrated cost of a bunch of bittersweet that I have entwined beautifully, I think, yet guiltily, around my chandelier as my husband reminds me every time we drive anywhere, “there’s some bittersweet you could have cut for free.  Oh, and there’s more bittersweet…” and for which, it is true, I have been torn between 1) buying a whole other bunch just to spite my husband and 2) plotting how to cut bittersweet off of branches along the road, without being caught and arrested for trespassing.  I have resolved that I can do neither and that I am just plain a “wuss”, but at least I am a non-lawbreaking “wuss”.  The bittersweet, though expensive, looks lovely.  I plan on keeping it up all the way through the holidays because it is so beautiful… and maybe just for the principle of it…and perhaps a little bit to drive my husband the teensiest bit crazy.   

SEVEN—Number of days of record-breaking warm weather which allowed for running, walking in the wooded trails, doing watered-down Cross Fit exercises outside, playing “ghost in the graveyard” and… putting up holiday lights that we realized, once it was dark outside, don’t actually work right. 

SIX—Number of Pignoli Cookies (times four) made for my grandmother’s visit, her favorite.  It is my Italian MIL’s recipe (she thinks) with my own variations. 

FIVE—number of longtime friends who came to visit, celebrate Thanksgiving dinner two days later, polish off several bottles of good wine, tear up at my pumpkin and apple pies, drink several cups of good coffee, laugh over old pictures of themselves and shoo all of our combined kids outside in the warm weather to play “ghost in the graveyard” while we take over their Wii and competitively challenge one another in playing Archery over lava pits. 

FOUR—number of relatives it took to move my brother successfully into his new apartment just in time for the holidays, although my mother would argue that having his clothes still laying in her laundry room does not mean he has moved… successfully…

3.2--miles run at the Turkey Run, 5 kilometers if you’re “metric”, crossing the finish with some of my best buds. 

Only TWO conversations with my MIL in which I felt guilty because I had no idea what or who she was talking about: 
MIL:  I’m so excited; tomorrow, I’m going to Brittney’s house. 
ME:  Oh, that’s wonderful!  (Wondering—do I tell her I have no idea who Brittney is?)
MIL:  You do know who Brittney is, don’t you? 
ME:  (Do I lie…?)  No, mum, I don’t know Brittney.
MIL:  (Said in astonishment)  She got married just last year!
ME:  Umm, did she?  We didn’t go to her wedding…
MIL:  Chuck’s daughter--you know!
ME:  Who’s Chuck? 
MIL:  Why that’s Eleanor’s son, of course.  How can you not know Chuck?!
ME:  Who’s Eleanor?  I’m sorry, I don’t know Eleanor either. 
MIL:  You know!  She has Chuck and Terry, her alcoholic daughter who 
went to rehab after she got involved with that married man and then had her two daughters taken away.  Brittney’s raising them, now, you know.   
ME:   Oh, is she? 
MIL:  Yes, well, Eleanor of course thinks the kids should be with Terry…
ME:  Oh?
MIL:  Can you believe that?  How could Eleanor think that those girls should be
            with Terry when she’s in rehab. again?  The girls were in the wedding. 
            They looked lovely. 
ME:   Uh, umm, I don’t know…  (yes, dear reader, this goes on and happened yet another time with a whole other set of people from my husband’s childhood that I should have somehow remembered, but I will save you…)

ONE incredibly busy, but blessed Thanksgiving week with relatives, friends, and family for which several times a day I thank my incredibly lucky stars, more when they are behaving (JK); I am especially thankful this year for my 97-year-old grandmother, who sat and told me many stories about my great-grandparents, their philosophy on life, her own schooling, her childhood home with her beloved sister, how she would put curlers in my own mother’s hair and how she loved the notes that her family would leave for her on her pillow.  I am not only thankful that I had been able to be with her, but that my children had a wonderful time with their great-grandmother as well.  While it is never easy to say good-bye, and I could not stop hugging and holding her as it is unknown if I will ever see her again in this life, I am thankful for being able to visit with her, talk with her, eat with her, and be with her now.  There are certainly many blessings to count this Thanksgiving. 

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