Like over 46 million other Americans who plan to travel fifty miles or more over Thanksgiving, the Thompsons are hitting the road for the holiday this year. And not to be outdone by those fifty-milers, we’re going all in, all 3,000 miles across the country to California. We’ll spend the week visiting the men in my family (yes, my dad, both of my brothers, and three of my nephews reside in sunny California), and we’ll make memories that’ll last a lifetime, I’m sure.
With family on both coasts, that pesky middle of the country sure gets in the way of family celebrations, but when it’s important, we bridge (or fly) the gap and all come together to reminisce, relive, and recreate the good old days.
Just last month, my siblings and I convened in our hometown on the eastern shore of Maryland to celebrate my mom’s eightieth birthday. It was a fantastic weekend, but I couldn’t help but look ahead to my future, when my now elementary-aged tikes would be grown and gone, maybe across the country or even the world. I feel like every day, someone is warning me not to blink, or they’ll be grown up (my eyes are getting really dry, people!), and I’m sure that’s how my mom feels too.
In church that Sunday, a childhood neighbor noticed my family resemblance and greeted me with a warm, “Julie, right?” “No, I’m Margaret, Julie’s my older sister, but she’s here too!” As the youngest of the five by nine years, this was met with the usual reply: “Margaret! My word, you were this big when I last saw you!” (This big being up to her knees, of course. I guess she blinked.)
It was nice to see that each of us still relished in spending some one-on-one time with Mom, confiding our latest trials and tribulations, as we sadly realized that none of us really has a clue what each other’s day-to-day lives are like anymore. It’s so odd to think that my now joined-at-the-hip sons will likely be that way one day too, relegated to birthday calls (or just texts – ack!) and just the occasional visit.
I came home from Maryland and told my youngest that I hope we all end up staying in the same town when they grow up, as unlikely as that is. (Richmond is a great town, don’t you think?) Maybe we’ll be some of the lucky empty-nesters, with children and grandchildren nearby to see often and spoil rotten – fingers crossed.
I hope that each of you is able to spend part of this holiday season with the ones you love from near and far, making memories, reminiscing, and catching up. Enjoy this special time of year, and don’t forget to take RFM along for the ride – we’ll keep you filled in on all the best places to make holiday memories that’ll last a lifetime!