being a mom
Having Kids Saved Me From Stabbing A Fork In My Eye During Thanksgiving Dinners
My husband and I technically brought the first grandchild into his side of the family; my niece was born just two days after my first son. And thank God for that. If I had to play one more hand of Apples to Apples as a holiday icebreaker, I was going to scream.
It had been decades since there had been real, live children filled with awe and wonder at any family holiday celebration. While I’m totally obsessed with Turkey Day and the holidays to follow, it was getting pretty darn boring sitting around the dinner table with six other adults year after year. The only form of entertainment was when my husband’s younger brother would bring around a new girlfriend that everybody loved to hate (or maybe it was just meâ€¦).
It wasn’t until the “baby boom” in our family just last year that holidays finally got interesting again.
In the pre-baby days, we’d have a pretty decent holiday meal coupled with a few drinks. If we were lucky, someone would get a little too tipsy and provide us with 45 minutes or so of unadulterated antics. But more often than not, we’d all stick to our two drinks with dinner and end up chatting about work promotions, movies, and eventually video games among my husband and his brothers. (Snooze!)
My all-time favorite holiday season, starting with Thanksgiving, would be over before I knew it. We were usually only able to bleed a few hours of fun out of these “adult” get-togethers before someone got bored enough and brave enough to be the first to go home.
And believe you me, I did my best to make it as interesting as possible. It’s the friggin’ holidays, after all! A few years ago, I started making an innocent-looking holiday sangria that had enough brandy in it to kill a cat. A glass or two of this unassuming holiday “roofie” was enough to get you to tell your deepest, darkest secrets and leave you with a terrible hangover the next day. You’re welcome.
But now that there are three grandchildren on this side of the family, we finally have something to talk about around the holiday table. Without kids, Thanksgiving dinner would just be five to seven adults, give or take, making small talk.
With kids, Thanksgiving is a holiday I look forward to even more than I used to. Even though I’m playing the “mean mom” and am planning our holiday meal during the kids’ naptimes this year, we still get to wake them up and ooh and aah over them before conversation hits a dead end in Dullsville, USA.
I know there are some families that are wild, loud, and completely outrageous every time they get together. (If that describes your next of kin, how about sending us an invite to your turkey dinner please?) But for smaller, quieter families like my husband’s side of the tree, grandkids liven things up and make holidays interesting again.
I finally have something to look forward to on a holiday that involves spending countless hours with extended family. Don’t get me wrong, I think my in-laws are great people. But it was getting harder and harder to think of stimulating yet neutral conversation topics to discuss over the dinner table before we had kids.