It was the night before Thanksgiving. I left my husband and his parents in his parents' living room and went upstairs to my Bug. In an effort to comfort him back to sleep, I fell asleep myself. It was around 9 pm.
The next thing I knew, Squish was calling out from his portable crib in the next room as my husband was coming to bed. I barely opened my eyes and pointed to the room where Squish was crying. I made no effort to get up. I doubt I smiled even sheepishly at my husband. I simply pointed.
I can only recall a few moments from the eight hours that followed.
When it was my turn to soothe Squish, I rocked him in my arms for a few minutes and then put him in the portable crib. I lay down in the toddler bed next to the portable crib. Squish yelled at me. I pulled him from the portable crib into the toddler bed.
For a moment, I actually thought to myself, "Won't this be funny in the morning? [My husband] will come in and see the two of us curled up in a toddler bed. I hope this thing holds the two of us okay for the night. Crikes. I hope we don't fall asleep and then break this little toddler bed. I hope . . . "
Ridiculous thoughts. All of them. My attempts to soothe Squish failed, and he flopped around like an angry goblin.
Next, I was in the living room around midnight putting a quilt over my husband and Squish and apologizing to my husband. I don't remember why I felt the need to apologize, but I can only assume that I started acting like an angry goblin myself.
Eventually, it must have been my turn again. I brought Squish into the big bed. As he was trying to find a comfortable spot to snuggle, Bug reached out, in what seemed like a simultaneous effort to comfort Squish and to reclaim territory [me]. I wondered if the sun would ever rise again.
The sun did, in fact, rise, and when it did, my husband picked up Fussy McSquish and started for the door.
I mumbled, "Ask your parents if they can help..."
Bug sat up and said, "Where's Daddy going? I want to go with Daddy!"
So, the three of them left the room.
A minute or two later, my husband returned because his parents had kindly volunteered to watch our goobers at an ungodly hour.
And so began Thanksgiving 2012.
Another post about sleep deprivation? A Thanksgiving post about being thankful for grandparents who let us catch up on sleep? A Thanksgiving post about being thankful for a baby who slept through the night on Thanksgiving night?
But I should add that, at Thanksgiving dinner, we started talking about how long we have all been sitting at the kids' table.
(Yes, the kids' table. I have been at the kids' table off and on for about ten years. If we are in Portland for Thanksgiving, we are at the kids' table. Even when my husband and I were married. Even now, with Bug and Squish at the kids' table, too. But, make no mistake - the kids' table is where it's at.)
The conversation lasted for about three minutes. It included poking fun at my husband's older brother (in absentia) for having ventured to the adults' table once several years ago - only to return to the kids' table in all subsequent years.
This little conversation was not meaningful in and of itself. But we were talking about our shared experience as a family, and something I know - but sometimes forget - struck me.
Sometimes there seems to be a daunting amount of laundry, cleaning, cooking, and travel all in the name of The Holidays. And all of this daunting work can cause at least a little anxiety. One might even say that you look forward to Thanksgiving ending almost as much as you look forward to it happening. But The Holidays are when we seek out our people (whatever that means - friends, family, whomever). We tell each other the same old stories from our shared past, and together we live through the hijinx (hilarity, heartbreak, joy, and
craziness) that will become our stories in the future. We share and share, and we are better for it. A lesson I hope Bug and Squish learn long before they have their own children.
So, I am thankful to have all sorts of people for whom it is worth making the effort -- on Pre-Turkey-Day-Turkey-Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, the Fourth of July, and even St. Patrick's Day (a.k.a. Two Days Before My Grandmother's Birthday). You all know who you are, and I love you.