The older I get, the more I realize just how important it is to be flexible when you’re living in the empty nest — especially around the holidays. It becomes even more important once a new grandchild is added to the mix. Kudos to my sister-in-law for that sage bit of wisdom.
So, while you were celebrating Thanksgiving on Thursday, November 24, my family was already snacking on leftovers.
An Early Thanksgiving
My daughter and son-in-law had Thanksgiving week off from work. Since she had not yet visited our new place in the mountains of North Carolina, she suggested having our Thanksgiving celebration there which sounded like a lot of fun. Cold, but fun.
My husband and I, along with our doodle, drove up from Florida arriving the Saturday before Thanksgiving. Our son, daughter-in-law and baby grandson drove over from Nashville to spend the first part of the week with us. Our daughter and son-in-law arrived a few hours later. It was a full house.
With that in mind, we had our Thanksgiving dinner with all of the trimmings on the Monday evening before Thanksgiving. I found the biggest chicken I could find and roasted it. I have a turkey allergy so chicken had to do. My daughter helped me make all of our Thanksgiving favorites — cornbread dressing with giblet gravy, macaroni and cheese, sweet potato casserole, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie.
It was good to be together as a family no matter what day it was and as we gathered around our bountiful table, we said a prayer of thanks for the newest little member of the family.
Time To Say Goodbye Again
All of my daughter-in-law’s family live in the Nashville area and had a big dinner planned so they had to leave on Wednesday to be back in time for Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, they got to experience the worst of holiday travel with a newborn.
Thanksgiving Day was quiet and relaxed. We watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the National Dog Show afterwards. We ate Thanksgiving leftovers for lunch and afterwards, walked off some of our calories at nearby Bass Lake in Moses Cone Park. It was a lovely, crisp fall day.
We did have a bit of a dilemma that evening. Weary of leftovers, we had to find a place that was open for dinner. We ended up in a little Vietnamese restaurant — probably my most international Thanksgiving dinner ever.
A couple of days later, my daughter and son-in-law packed up and headed back to Birmingham. I’ll confess, I cried when everyone left, even though I knew I would see them soon. I always do.
Memories – From House To Home
A funny thing happened while my children, their spouses and grandson were here. Our house (condo) turned into a home.
As I looked around the quiet condo after everyone had left, I no longer saw walls, furniture and decorations.
- I saw four young adults talking and laughing at the dining table.
- I saw the family I love so much enjoying a meal together — a rare occurrence.
- I heard my baby grandson crying and making his cute little baby noises from the loft.
- I saw my daughter standing beside me at the stove preparing a meal then fixing a plate.
- I saw my daughter-in-law holding her baby boy — exhausted but content.
- I saw my son looking at his son with the love only a parent knows.
- I saw my son-in-law sitting in the comfy chair playing a video game, sipping on coffee.
- I saw my husband sitting on the sofa, taking it all in with me.
There are so many wonderful memories of our Thanksgiving together in the cold mountains of North Carolina, memories stored up to cheer me when my empty nest makes me blue
Now we are full into the Christmas season which is bringing even more challenges and opportunities to be flexible. It’s definitely a time to get creative and that’s what we are doing. It’s what we have to do if we want to spend time with the people we love the most. Be sure to check back with me next week to hear more about that.
How about you? Does your family have to be flexible with holiday celebrations? How do you work it out? I’d love to hear.