“Four day weekend and tomorrow’s Thanksgiving Mikey, what do you want to do?”
“Dad, I am going to run upstairs, put on my bathrobe and play videogames all afternoon. I have…No! Home! Worrrrrrrkkkkkkkk!”
“Sounds perfect. How ’bout you Benny-boy? What do you want to do?”
He looks out the back window of the truck at the leaves blowing across the front yard. His four year old eyes squint in the setting sun and he sighs happily.
Both boys do exactly as they say. Mike is in his bathrobe before I walk through the front door, and Ben is double fisting Yoo-Hoo!’s before he takes off his jacket.
By Thursday morning the house is filled with the delicious freedom of a four day weekend, and the delicious smell of roasted vegetables. It’s for the Thanksgiving Day feast at my in-laws.
The house my wife grew up in, is small and cozy and warm. The boys disappear to the “Lego room” and the rest of us flip through a mountain of Black Friday flyers in the living room. Stuffed mushrooms and coffee and wine appear and disappear like dreams and the end of dinner leaves us wondering, “Why am I so full?”
The temperature is below freezing, worse with the ferocious winds, but I am determined to uphold the tradition of the post dinner walk. We bundle up the boys and Grammy gets the dog and away we go.
Tears freeze to our cheeks and my little one cries, “My knees are cold!”
I guess that’s what happens when from waist up it’s three layers, a down jacket, scarf and hat, and below the waist is just jeans.
We touch the bridge in town with their grandfather’s name on it and suddenly they aren’t so cold. They climb over the steel girders and walk the railings like a tightrope. It’s a small adventure, braving the elements, searching landmarks and the reward is dessert at Grandma #2’s house. They run back. If it’s for joy or to get warm I don’t know.
While Grammy’s house is safe and warm, Grandma’s house is a frenzy of family. Ten cousins wrestle on the couch. They sit two to a chair watching YouTube videos as my older nephews almost have my son convinced they’ve turned him invisible (secretly I wish I had thought of that one).
My boys cry when I tell them it’s time to leave.
By Saturday the tree is up and the train is chugging around its base. I take a picture of the four year old. He is under the tree and I immediately know what he is feeling.
I’m seven and I am laying under my own Christmas tree. Snake-Eyes hangs from a branch and a few other G.I. Joe’s are riding the rails of the electric train set. I look up. It’s strange, I’ve never been under the tree looking up. I am dazzled by the sight. A secret pine-scented world reaches heavenward. It is a maze of branches and blinking lights. A hint of tinsel and ornaments peek through the gaps and wish I could shrink myself down and live among the boughs and trunk. It’s a secret quiet world. The magic of Christmas from the inside. I wonder if anyone else has ever done this or if it is my own private discovery. I hope it is my own.
By Sunday night the backpacks are getting ready for the morning commute, and my sons feel the weight of sleep a little more profoundly. I tuck them in. The baby snores lightly as Mike climbs to the top bunk.
“Well, what was your favorite part of the weekend?”
“That’s sweet. How come?”
“I don’t know. I just like when we’re all together.”
Owner Spowerks LLC