A few years ago, our Thanksgiving was completely swiped–the likes of the Grinch Who Stole Christmas. Only our villian–or should I say, “our hero,” was an unlikely teenage boy.
Here’s the story:
After we got the turkey in the oven that morning, we went for a family walk. Our reluctant teenager even joined us. We circled the pond and tested the ice and watched tiny flakes fall from the sky; then crunched our way home through the as the boys threw snow at each other.
Before leaving for my sister’s for pre-Thanksgiving hors d’oeuvres, we prepared our dinner table, only to discover that we didn’t have eight of anything! Worse of all was the realization that there were only 4 forks left from our silverware collection.
In response to this crisis, the reluctant teenager created a new tradition: setting the table in half blues and half greens (placemats and dishes) with matching silver on one side and a pot-luck assortment on the other.
My husband, a strong Virgo, had to leave the room, but our eight-year old was inspired to contribute an interesting tradition of his own: filling a piñata that he had scored at the second-hand store the day before.
The day was filled with many, many happy moments and a few “mommy dearest” ones–like when I arrived home from sister’s to find that the turkey was done an hour early… while my teenager moved in slow motion to each desperate request for help.
Our youngest shined in this hour of need, asking eagerly, “Is there anything else I can do?” At 8, he was naturally helpful, relishing in any moment where he could outshine his big brother. Plus he had a vested interest in the dinner meal as he had peer arriving to join us, while his brother, dejectedly, did not.
In true adolescent fashion, he was sullen during dinner and dramatically opted out of the post-turkey walk with our guests, plugging himself into his ipod and plopping down on the couch instead. “At least start putting some dishes in the dishwasher,” I called before leaving. I dreaded coming back to that mess, but the sun was getting low in the sky, and it was now or never to enjoy what was left of this day.
Our guests laughed at my suggestion that our teen begin the clean up, promising that we would all tackle it together when we returned. We enjoyed a nice long walk up MacArthur Road and arrived back home as the sun dropped behind the mountain.
When we walked in the door, I gasped, as if our house had been robbed. I looked around, confused, bewildered, concerned even. My teenager was no longer on the couch. He was at the sink. I suspected he jumped up just in time to start loading the dishes when he heard us come up the drive. And yet something was different…
The wood stove was still there in the middle of the room, but everything else… There was absolutely no evidence of our Thanksgiving Party left behind–not in the living room or the dining room or in the sink. In fact, the kitchen was eerily spotless. Not a dish or a crumb, not a pot or a pan. Nothing but the smell of turkey and a single glass of chardonnay.
Beguiled and giddy, we put our coats back on and headed down to our neighbors for the pumpkin pie and the piñata… while continuing to marveling over what was sure to be forever called, The Thanksgiving Miracle.