Home is where it happens. All the magic of life and family. And this year I am counting on that magic to add to the wonderfulness of the holiday season. This year I am hosting the family for Thanksgiving. We all have our firsts in life, and this is one of mine.
To some this may not seem like a big deal, but to my large and very eclectic family its pretty big. This is the first year that my parents are healthy and not suffering from cancer. And this year everyone is in close proximity. This is also probably the last year my nephews will be local. My oldest nephew is graduating college next month and who knows where he will end up. The other two are going to school and working as well, but they all have off for the holidays this year.
It is the first time that the family will be gathering at my house. In the past, we have all made it to our parents house. But they are getting older and it is a lot of work for them to do all the cooking, cleaning and general preparation for such a family event. I am hoping that it is a success, that everyone has a good time, even though it will be quite the adventure. To understand the overtures of this undertaking, let me explain:
My parents are quite set in their ways. They are great, wonderful, honest, hard working, loyal people. But they can be extremely difficult to please. And they both cannot be happy and comfortable at the same time. You will go crazy trying to make that happen, trust this, I know. I have actually told them to choose each day of the visit who gets to be happy and comfortable, that way there is not constant complaining. It works.
In the past visits, there have been complaints that the house is too cold (Dad likes the temp at 84-86), too hot (Mom likes it between 74-76) and neither of them like ANY air circulation, so no fans or such. The food is too spicy or too bland. And I live out in Egypt, s where I live is too far, from everything (I actually have the same complaint).
My mother smokes, but she hates smoking outside, mainly because it’s cold in the winter and she doesn’t like to be cold. Once, in the House of Mold, she smoked on the screened-in-porch. When she got cold she insisted I bring her the warmest coat I owned…which happened to be a mink coat. So there she is, sitting out in a screened-in-porch, in her pink fuzzy warm house slippers….smoking….in a mink coat. I would have taken a picture if I had not feared death. So I have set up a wonderful sitting area in the garage…along with 2 large, large room heaters, that each one would heat the small garage for most. There will be tables, chairs and a soft couch from which to choose.
My father, on his last visit, complained that he felt some small amount of air moving across his face. This air was coming from a closed air vent in his bedroom that was very suspect. The threatened to sleep in the garage. Instead I fixed a separate place for him upstairs in my office. This time the bed in his room will be moved far away from that evil vent, thus avoiding the problem altogether.
Add to the mix my wonderful sister and her 2 sons. Nothing much will happen with any of them, as they will be face-deep in their phones. I will have to make a rule that there are no electronic devices at the table. My sister and Dad do speak the same language, sometimes I swear they have the same brain even. My youngest nephew smokes as well, so he will be in the garage with his grandmother, while we will try to keep the oldest from getting into a political discussion with my mother. Liberal college kid views do not go over well with her conservative mindset, and he is too young to be able to keep up with her quick wit (not kidding). I would prefer to save the fireworks for July 4th.
And everyone loves coffee. And wine. And food in general. And we can all gather next to the warm fireplace, when we are not out in the garage, hanging out with the smokers. Or decorating the Christmas. Or asleep in our food comas.
And this weekend will be the flurry of getting the last bit ready…the deep cleaning (but not too deep, because my mother will need something to clean while she visits). There will be dusting of things and cleaning of baseboards. Vacuuming, sweeping and mopping. The cupboards are full of snacks and such, the throw blankets and sheets have all been swashed and are fresh and soft. There is music that has been picked out for the occasion. It may be hard but it will be worth it. Much laughter, love, great moments, memories and pictures. And I will hug them just a little bit tighter, just a little bit longer. This year, a year of so many wonderful things in our lives, and so many miracles. And so much heartbreak and terror in the world. Nothing like watching the news to make you hold your loves ones just a little closer.
And in those hugs, those moment and those memories, that is where the magic happens.