Another year, another Thanksgiving. It was our 12th Thanksgiving together as a family, well actually our 6th, but who's counting. After a couple of years of trying to "have it all" by splitting the Holiday right down the middle, Thanksgiving had become miserable for everyone involved, especially the kids. Do I eat at both houses? If I don't will it hurt mom or dad's feelings? So with a number of "equal time" Thanksgivings under our belt, Raylan and I proposed to the three other families that we rotate the entire week of Thanksgiving so both the kids and parents could enjoy the Holiday the way it was intended; with enjoyment. Bitty didn't agree, but we made a choice to do what we thought was in the best interest of the kids, not Bitty. So we proceeded with the rotation schedule with our three youngest and gave the teenagers the freedom to choose how they wanted to spend the Holiday.
The rotation has cut down on the number of Thanksgivings we have spent with the kids, but has increased the enjoyment level for everyone by 100%, creating positive memories for the kids rather than dread. So knowing that this year would be our year, we started planning our activities for the week in conjunction with the kids. In the midst of our planning, it hit us, Jax's last Thanksgiving.
I know it's not really his 'last" Thanksgiving, he doesn't have some incurable disease, but he is headed off to College in another state this coming August. We'll see him on future Thanksgivings once he moves away, but it will never be like it was this year and the others we shared as a family. Right now his life and ours are still intertwined. We live under the same roof, share family meals, watch our favorite programs, laugh about the events of the day and even when he's supposed to be at Greta's, there's always a Jazz or Eagles games he has to watch on the big screen or he forgot his stupid phone charger, again! This Thanksgiving crystallized our new reality; our moments are on countdown with Jax. Next year at this time, this life will still be apart of him, but it won't be his life.
So this Thanksgiving, Jax requested we stay at home, no trips, just hang out. We went to Grandma and Grandpa's for dinner with my brother's and their families and spent most of the dinner talking, laughing and teasing him about his upcoming College life. The rest of the week we spent eating breakfast at 1:00 in the afternoon (is it really breakfast at that time?), football, movies, video games and a ton of laughter. Moments.
It took a lot of years of laughter and tears to create our family as it is now. And now that we've reached a happy place, I wish it could stay like this just a little bit longer! It's not just Jax's last Thanksgiving, it's our family's last as the band of five. Thank God it was a good one!