Once we arrived we kids were banished to the outdoors as the grownups drank coffee, caught up with each other, and prepared the food. Fortunately Texas Thanksgivings were not usually cold. Days later, or so it seemed, we would return home tired and usually sick with a stomach virus we invariably brought back with us. Or maybe it was food poisoning from eating food that sat out all day. Even with the drama I always looked forward to the road trip, though.
Being married with children meant a different kind of shuttling. Having to bring homemade dishes and well-groomed and mannered children to the in-laws for Thanksgiving created a different kind of stress. On the rare occasion one of us was ill, I'm ashamed to admit I was secretly almost glad I didn't have to go. "But honey, you go," I would tell hubby as I curled up on the couch with a sick kid. We would be fine. And a tiny bit relieved to have to miss the gathering this year.
Now the kids are grown with kids of their own. I can never seem to get them home together for Thanksgiving, and I've never cooked a Thanksgiving meal, something I both looked forward to and dreaded as they were growing up. With hubby's health issues, he doesn't attend gatherings any more, so I will venture out to my sister's home to her gathering.
I will not be a grinch, though. I will bring my usual cheese potatoes and green bean casserole and try not to miss my hubby, children, and grandchildren too much. I'll try not to long for those crazy days of shuttling all over creation to make it to Thanksgiving dinner. I will miss the loved ones who are now gone, I will miss the children who are now grown and moved on, and I will accept that life goes on with all its changes.
Later I will listen as my children reminisce about their childhood Thanksgivings and grouse about having to travel to family gatherings. It's their turn now.