The day before Thanksgiving I feel can be a hit or a miss. Either it’s a peaceful day to reflect on all you have to be thankful for, or it’s a shit show of testing your patience and gritting your teeth, murmuring about how you’re not exactly thankful for THIS part of the day. By the photo above for reference, would you care to take a stab at which scenario was ours?
Yep, it was the shit show. At first.
I think I’ve complained to just about everyone on how much Eleni hates the car. It’s not the normal, cry, fall asleep relationship either. It’s the full blown meltdown until you remove her kind of hate. So when we were still living in Grand Rapids, we agreed to a Thanksgiving an hour away. Well then we moved and it became two hours away. To say I was nervous for the trek was an understatement, but I really wanted to try and make it work. So I called my Dad who flies for work every other week and he graciously booked us a hotel room with his hotel points at our half way mark.
So off we went. Eleni even slept alllllllll the way to the barber shop. She starts crying, we drop Chris off to work. Still crying, head to the hotel, no big deal it’s pretty close. Wrong. So wrong.
What happened in that car made Ana, a child who basically doesn’t go anywhere without food in her hand, willing to forego an entire meal WITH A MILKSHAKE in fear of a repeat of that ride.
So Chris and I made the call to stay the night at the hotel to let Ana’s trauma soften, then head for home the next day. I felt awful. I felt like I was disappointing my husband who had high hopes of spending Thanksgiving with his elderly grandfather (obviously this was just in my head because Chris is an incredibly kind human being,) I felt awful for putting Ana through the misery, I felt awful for putting Eleni through the ride, and I felt awful for feeling awful. I was supposed to be reflecting on how blessed my life was and how grateful I was for family, not ordering Uber Eats and crying.
To take everyone’s mind off of the morning, including my own, we all got our bathing suits on and headed for the pool that Ana was so excited for. Ana got one step in and refused to go any further. It was cold and a lot deeper than she had imagined it would be. Should I have been surprised? Not really, considering this is the child that has to shower with me because she fears the bathtub, but I was beyond frustrated. Not another thing going wrong. I got everyone out of the pool and angrily started the cold trek back to our room.
I watched Ana skip ahead, laughing when I realized I had two choices. I could easily have fumed and been consumed with the disappointment. Like me, Ana had looked forward to something, but it didn’t go according to plan. Instead of being upset by it though, she found happiness in something else. So that’s what I decided to do.
We ran a bath full of warm water and the three of us played in there instead. We broke out the camera and took photos of each other, played a game we like to call “Queen Baby",” and stole Chris’ fries when he met up with us at the hotel after work. The next morning we drove home (yep, still a lot of crying involved,) had Thanksgiving with family, and made an epic Jell-O cake for Ana’s birthday.
This Thanksgiving I learned that I need to be more okay with what is. What works for my family isn’t always what I hope for, but it’s what we’re comfortable with. Life is full of seasons and one day this will just be a past chapter in our lives. I don’t want to look back on it and wish I had just been less stressed about it and taken it for granted.