I wish I were a cow so I could have four stomachs—and four times the room for eating. (I know: That's not technically how cow stomachs work, but if you believe the public really needs to understand cow digestion in greater detail, rumination.blogspot.com is still available.) If our traditional Thanksgiving feast weren't delicious enough on Thursday, the next night we ordered my two favorite kinds of pizza, and if I'd been a cat (what IS it with this weird reverse-anthropomorphism I'm doing here?) I would have purred uncontrollably well into the night. To top it all off, Mom made a selection of her way-better-than-your-mom's pies, and we all but rubbed our faces in the pie plates after we gobbled them down.
I am so lucky it's almost obscene. My family is totally cool. We're all best friends. We talk and laugh and joke whenever we're together. Even with our bellies disdended with Thanksgiving goodness, we (most of the time, at least) jump up to help cook, clean up and hold back each other's hair as we purge at the toilet. And we have a long history of sharing the love at the holidays. From as far back as I can remember until I was well out of college, my family forwent (is that a word?) a "traditional" Thanksgiving dinner and spent each year managing the city's soup kitchen instead—and we recruited a lot of our friends to help cook, clean, decorate, serve, and just sit and visit to make our guests' meals meaningful. (In fact, it's where my sister met her husband. And no, he wasn't one of our customers.) Now that we've passed the serving fork (as it were) to a younger, more energetic family, we usually just invite people to eat with us at Thanksgiving, and this year we included my mom's only cousin, his wife, their daughter and her new husband AND a family friend who's all but become my niece and nephew's third grandmother. It was a great group, but there was NO elbow room at the table.
This uncle stuff rocks. I mean it REALLY rocks. My niece and nephew are happy, content, amicable little kids who are smothered in love—and aware that not every kid has what they have, thanks to my sister and her husband's thoughtful parenting. From the moment I walked in the door on Thursday until I left this afternoon, the kids were all over me with hugs and stories and things to show me and endless requests for being thrown in the air and swung around like monkeys (which, apparently, is solely the job of the uncle, who needed the exercise anyway).
Have I made you throw up yet? Sorry about that. It's just that I truly am lucky and I'm aware that I'm lucky and I'm thankful for both of those things.
But now I'm home and the house is already decorated for Christmas and I'm gonna take a long hot shower.