My mother and youngest sister (Little) left my house this morning–actually, morning is a loose term for when they left unless you are, I don’t know, a senile rooster. Anyway, they left my house for the airport because they are spending Thanksgiving in California with my other sister, Middle. The rational, grown-up part of me thinks this is a great idea. I’m glad Middle will be spending the holiday with family instead of eating in some posh Orange County restaurant with Dennis Rodman, and I’m glad Mom and Little are getting a groovy week-long vaycay in the middle of cold, dark November.
But my inner voice, the one I don’t use much because of what I am about to tell you, sounds a little like a petulant 3-year-old who is stuck in the bank line chewing on the rapidly disintegrating paper stick of a cheap lime sucker: “But WHY do you have to go to California? But WHY, because I want you to spend Thanksgiving with ME? Why does California have to be so FAR?” It’s not pretty, especially since I’m actually going to be with family on Thanksgiving. I mean, it’s not like I will be sitting all alone with a single serving of ToFurky and a cheap beer, watching the parade on TV and randomly gobbling at my kid in an effort to interact with her from within my deep despair of loneliness. There will be good food and a number of crazy uncles and cousins, as well as my dad and my brother, people I just don’t get to see often enough. And also, a lot of cheap beer.
Just before Mia was born I declared to a number of people that my holiday traveling days were over. “I am about to have a baby,” I exclaimed. “The people will just have to come to me.” You’d think I was planning to give birth to the Hope diamond, the way I believed “the people” would flock to my door. The truth is, my house is about the size of a Ford Aerostar, so even if the people really did come to me, they would have to tent camp in my yard. And anyway, who am I? I mean, sure, I got pregnant as if by magic without the assistance of a man (It’s true! A female nurse practitioner performed the insem that worked. Dr. T. wasn’t even in the room!), but there’s no big star over my house, and sure, my kid is beautiful and funny and brilliant, but those people I mentioned before, the ones we’re related to? I’m pretty sure if they all flocked here for the holidays, they would not be understanding when I slept in with my kid until 10 or 10:30, refused to share the coffee, and served Eggo mini waffles for breakfast. So we travel. It’s much saner for me, really, because I get to be the one who goes home to the quiet sanctity of my undisturbed little house.
But I won’t lie to you. It’s different when Mom and Middle and Little are here. Sure, they take up a lot of space, what with all the suitcases (most of them Middle’s) and air mattresses and blankets and such, and yes, they use every single towel I own for one shower. But if I happen to fart over breakfast, or if I think it’s perfectly normal behavior to walk around wearing nothing but a bandanna and a bathrobe all day, or if I insist on watching this over and over and over, they’re okay with that. It’s that kind of familiarity I’m thankful for this year.
And also, cheap beer.