I’ll tell you, that M is uniquely talented. She can pretty much ruin my day with sly innuendo and off-hand comments. And what kills me is that I am so nice to her. I am a really nice mom. She walked home from school in the chilly rain and requested hot cocoa, which I made. Not some instant-packet-in-microwaved-water crap, either. Milk and cocoa and sugar stirred in a saucepan with whipped cream on top. Twenty minutes later I was regretting my magnanimity. She is not about overt shrieks and tantrums. She’s like a ninja. The sighs, the facial expressions, the kidding-not-kidding remarks to me and her sister, and next thing you know I just feel like crying or climbing into bed. But it’s not just the gaslighting bitchiness. It’s the worry that this behavior both reflects my parenting inadequacies and affects my other kid’s daily quality of life. It’s just a lot of unkindness to bear. Today I resolved to just stop interacting with her, and then minutes later I saw that she was reading her English book in the dim living room. Instinctively, I start to walk over to turn on a light for her, and then I’m like, “Nah. Let her squint.”
Okay, enough about that.
Thanksgiving went well. We managed to get everyone seated in front of a pretty plate, and there were no major culinary disasters. The night before, Cute W woke in the middle of the night convinced that a rodent was going to break into our food storage during the night–we actually used our poorly-insulated front entry as a walk-in refrigerator–or that my curb-harvested second table was going to collapse mid-meal. Neither of these scenarios actually occurred, although I think that the table only stayed upright because all of us around it were strategically using our knees to keep it aloft.
We put away an impressive amount of wine and ate two bowls of chocolate mousse in record time, and we ended up with way too much stuffing, although if you ask one of my sisters, she would say it’s because her stuffing was much, much better, an opinion she shared at least eight times in my presence. I was proud of my first-ever pecan pie (here’s the recipe I used, except I skipped out on the orange zest because I’m just not that zesty). My worries that two bunches of kale were not quite enough were completely unfounded, but after laughing at me while we grocery shopped, Cute W was too polite to point this out. Cute W was also too polite too lose it when my dad complained about the dullness of our knives almost as much as my sister told me that all of her food was better than all of my food. No, that’s not true. He said it a lot, but not nearly as many times.
But, really, we had a good time. I spent late nights chatting with my sisters, and it was wonderful to be with everyone at the same time, and to see the rapidly-growing little cousins and the so-grown-up-that-you-can-treat-them-like-grown-ups older cousins. We also caught up with bonus aunts and uncles on Black Friday (no shopping for me!). We almost entirely avoided politics, which was good, and while the weather wasn’t great, we ventured outside enough so that people weren’t climbing the walls indoors. My parents arrived on Tuesday afternoon and the last of the relatives left midday on Saturday, and after a bit of cleaning up for me and gymnastics for J, we settled onto the couch with some take-out Chinese food to watch the entire Gilmore Girls series in one sitting. Cute W and M had left for a soccer tournament on Friday afternoon, and they got back on Sunday afternoon with a teensy bit of wind-down time that they wouldn’t have had if things had gone better for them during their games.
I am still working off the leftovers and it feels like I’m still catching up on sleep, but you guys! Now Christmas is just around the corner! I am not remotely ready. I’ve already figured out that this weekend we’ll need to get the tree, because all the other weekends up to Christmas are consumed by soccer or gymnastics. For the holidays we are not traveling at all, which will be a lovely break. Hope that everyone enjoyed Thanksgiving.