Happy Thanksgiving!

I find there is a lot of pressure around this holiday. The commercials on television of families coming together surrounded by perfect lighting, stuffing that looks too good to be true, and biscuits. The pressure!!!! Which side of the family do you go to? I imagine there are families that have everyone together. That is what I dream of having.

Since everything is supposed to be about creating beautiful memories, I asked son #3 what his most memorable Thanksgiving was. His response? “When we went on the cruise.” Ah yes, the Thanksgiving cruise of 2010. Let’s go back in time…. I was turning 40 and I thought I wanted diamond studs. (Please don’t judge. If you knew me, you would know that I dress like a homeless person. This, of course, comes from having a mother who was and is, ‘til 120, perfectly accessorized.) In any event, after thinking about it, I decided that instead of earrings, I wanted the five of us to go away together on a cruise. After all, time goes by so fast. Soon they would be out of the house and we would only see them once or twice a year. (I am exaggerating. I hope.) Cruises are relatively economical, and I am just so selfless that I wanted my family to enjoy a vacation.

Husband #1 and I decided that we were going to wait to tell the kids. We wanted to surprise them, like in those Disney commercials. You know the ones, where the parents tell the kids to wake up because they are going to Disney World, and the kids start screaming with joy and excitement. So a few days before we were to leave, we told the boys that we had something to tell them. We gathered them around the kitchen table and I pressed record on my really cool digital camera. (Cameras came before smart phones, for those of you too young to know about anything that came before the smart phone.) And we told them. “Kids, we are going on a cruise and we leave on Sunday!”

In my mind I had played out the scenario. My beautiful boys telling me how much they loved me and what wonderful parents we are and how they cannot wait to go away and spend quality time together.

This was not the reaction.

Son #1 was upset because he was going to miss the Vikings game, son #2 was upset because son #1 was upset, and son #3 was afraid to break the trend that his brothers started, so he, too, was disgruntled.

Really?? This is how you are reacting to going away? I gave up diamond earrings for this? Husband #1 and I looked at each other and just started laughing. In our wildest dreams, we never thought this would be the reaction, so it was just funny. We knew that our kids weren’t acting like this because they were spoiled. Our vacations have consisted of driving for hundreds of miles to watch baseball games and stay in motels that have other people’s socks left in the beds. (Don’t ask. I am the best mom EVER.) We chalked it up to them just not realizing how to react.

In the end, the cruise was just what I had hoped. A week of bonding. A week of sharing beautiful sunsets with my kids, and a week that apparently left an indelible impression on them as well.

Well, at least on son #3. I didn’t ask the other two because they weren’t home. But, we will assume they feel the same. I hope.

My most memorable Thanksgivings were driving out to Brooklyn, to my dad’s parents. Every other year my aunt and uncle and cousins from Virginia would be there, and it was something we all looked forward to. And since my grandparents weren’t kosher, they used to have the whole meal catered by this place in Brooklyn. The stuffing was incredible. Heavenly. My brother and I dreamed of it all year long. He still tries to replicate it. The place is no longer in existence, so we will never know what really was in it.

But we have the memories.

Here’s hoping that your Thanksgiving was memorable.

Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck remembers her first Thanksgiving, when she and husband #1 spent the entire night defrosting the turkey in cold water. Good times!