When my son went to college almost 20 years ago, he never returned to living near me. At first it was only a little over an hour's drive, that lasted 3 years. He then moved from Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Round Rock, Texas - a 3 to 4 hour plane ride away. Every year he comes home for Wisconsin deer hunting season and to spend Thanksgiving with his mama. He calls it his "man" trip, his "man" time with his cousin and uncle. It is the one time a year where he does exactly and only what he wants. He arrives on a Thursday, stops to see me and pick up his homemade chocolate chip and peanut butter cookies and two apple pies from scratch. He and his cousin must each have their own - I think they share the gallon of milk. LOL... I love forward to the visit and enjoy the baking labor of love. I see him the following Wednesday, the day before turkey day. We had spent the holiday for many, many years at my daughters - with her family, some of our extended family, and friends who are family. My daughter makes a traditional turkey dinner with all the fixings. We have some picky eaters in our family - so there are always fried chicken and french fries as well. And about 8 desserts. The house is filled with the sound of joyful conversation and laughter from a 2 yr old to a couple 70 yr olds. After dinner there is a break before dessert. After that, we gather back around the dining room table to look at the Black Friday sale ads. Not so much for getting great deals - my daughter and stepdaughter and I make it a fun shopping day. Its become a tradition. Then we decide if we are going to sleep a bit or stay up all night to begin shopping at 4am. Yes, we are a little crazy!
A couple years ago, our tradition changed. My daughter and family spends her turkey day with her sister in law. My son and I began our first tradition of "Mom and Me" thanksgiving. Originally, we were a little disappointed, and werent sure how we felt about it. It was wonderful! We stayed in our pajamas that morning, I had baked some flavored quick breads - banana, cranberry, and pumpkin. My son asked who I thought was going to eat all that. I just smiled at him. He wiped most of it out by Sunday evening. Kristopher and I watched the Thanksgiving Day parade and some cartoons that he used to watch as a boy; and then we went right into football. It was a beautiful day - took a break from football and went for a walk. We talked about so many things we both had wanted to but never had the one on one time to do so; usually when he visits he is surrounded by family and friends. I make a traditional turkey dinner for us. It is a relaxed, peaceful, quiet day. We have shared secrets, we have laughed until we cried together, we have made amends, we have talked of our love, we have cried over the sorrowful things that have happened in our lives. At the end of the day, we are like a super mini version of The Waltons. We say good night to each other from bedroom to bedroom...good night Kristopher, good night mom, love you, love you too mom...a couple soft giggles... What will I be thankful for this Thanksgiving? For the precious alone time I will get with my awesome son. Priceless!