Thanksgiving with Friends

There really is no such thing as age. In one moment, Aaron and I are hiding under bedspreads and couches to pop our head out and erupt in giddy surprise with Clara. In another, we’re comparing which brand of tomato juice we prefer and talking about how we can’t wait to snuggle up on the couch after Clara goes to bed to read through all the Black Friday newspaper inserts. (By the way, I prefer Knudsen’s organic low-sodium tomato juice and Aaron likes the Spicy Hot V-8 with Tabasco and/or a tablespoon of salsa. And, you can get a box of mega-Legos at Toys R Us for $10 before noon on Friday.)

But there’s nothing like a family gathering around the holidays to remind you of how old you are exactly, and that’s what I missed this Thanksgiving. I missed feeling like someone’s sister or granddaughter or daughter or daughter-in-law. I like the complexity and richness of so many relationships. I think it’s who we are to other people that makes us who we are. Still, wherever I go, at least I am always someone’s wife and someone else’s mom.

And, this Thanksgiving, as such, could not have been better.

To begin, on Thanksgiving Eve, Clara and I read one of her favorite books, Clara and Asha. Lately, Clara is really into smooches. Here, she’s planting a sweet one on Asha the statue that turned into a fish. (Only baby kisses turn stone into marine life.)

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Then, Thanksgiving morning, Clara rummaged through all the clothes that are too small for her now to find out what eclectic combination of blue knit and the color salmon she wanted to sport to her first holiday as a walking toddler.

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We spent Thanksgiving with our friends Jimi and Shaya Straw. Aaron and I made the sides; they prepared the turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie. We decided it would be fun to hang out all day and cook together. At first I was thinking, well, that might be fun or it might not—all depends on what kind of napping situation we can arrange.  The napping situation was successfully arranged and the day was perfect. Here we are—playing a game while Clara snoozes on their guest bed. We played “Boxers or Briefs,” which is basically a game about how well you know someone. So, you choose between all these wants and don’t likes and states of being to decide which one they would think is funniest or most true about themselves. Maybe the best one of the day was when Aaron got “I am a hologram.” I totally forgot about holograms! And Aaron would make the coolest hologram.

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His hologram could look a little like this below, except he would be slowly circling on some platform under a disco ball. This is the look he gives me when he’s right and I’m wrong:) On Thanksgiving, he was right about something that had to do with carrots.

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Here’s the happy family, taking the requisite holiday shot on the fireplace hearth.  This would be a great picture if it weren’t for Clara’s slight case of red-eye and my extra-strength grip on Aaron’s left knee. It felt sweet in the moment but looks a little aggressive from this angle:)

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Here are Jimi, Shaya, and their dog Soda Pop, doing their hearth thing.

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Clara is still such a helper. She usually likes to sit close to Mom on the counter

top and when I tell her to be careful, she grips the edge with both hands. Here, we’re peeling hard-boiled eggs together.

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After dinner, Clara entertained everyone with stories about the colors green and yellow.

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And then she faked us all out with a little post-tryptophan crash on the floor.

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After her fake nap, she awoke to join Shaya and Aaron in a round of “Heart and Soul” on the piano.

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Finally, this morning we got up bright and early to get ready for the Black Friday extravaganza. Aaron took Clara to Sportman’s Warehouse for some two-for-one wool socks, and I weaved through Fred Meyer, filling my handheld basket with $2.00 socks and $4.00 plush throws and $3.00 Chenille scarves and a 60% off holiday coat for Clara that will blow your minds with its cuteness.

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Then, we embarked on our multi-city Black Friday and drove to Anchorage to pick out Aaron’s much-anticipated guitar amp and play with Clara at the museum. The good news is, Clara is traveling better so long as you pay attention to her constantly. That’s also the bad news. Aaron had his nose to the windshield, arriving us alive through snow and horrible road conditions, and I read “Toes, Ears, and Nose” ten times, invented multiple games with umbrellas, wipes, wallets, water bottles, grapes, pens, and windows. We forgot the camera to record all the fun stuff—like Clara floating on a water bed painted to look like a pond and figuring out how a hot-air balloon works, but I snagged a couple photos of our car ride home. The first to go on any long ride are the shoes and socks.

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