Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Thanksgiving 1 and Thanksgiving 2

When Older Daughter was a baby she would not crawl. Other babies crawled, but Older Daughter apparently considered crawling to be beneath her dignity. In an effort to get Older Daughter to conform, my wife would sit the child in one corner of the playpen and her favorite objects in the corner farthest from her. Older Daughter looked at the toys. She wanted the toys. But crawling was out of the question. Eventually, she figured out that, by pulling the blanket on the floor of the playpen, she could draw the objects she wanted to within reach. She remade the world according to her needs.

I suppose that sounds critical. I don't mean to be critical. I am amused at Older Daughter's consistent view that the Universe is something she can manipulate and control according to her whim. No amount of evidence to the contrary seems able to shake this certitude.

For example, when Older Daughter studied in Spain for a semester, back in her undergraduate days (several years ago), she assumed that all costs and expenses would be expressed to her in dollars. After all, she was an American and Americans use dollars. She was shocked -- shocked -- to find out that Spaniards would use euros even when dealing with her. At the exchange rate then prevailing, Older Daughter's budget was shreds and tatters in a fortnight.

The latest blow to Older Daughter's worldview came in connection with the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. Older Daughter is, you will recall, a nurse. I don't think she thought that sick people would actually take a 24 hour timeout from their various illnesses so as to permit her to come to Chicago for dinner. On the other hand, while she might have understood, in the abstract, that sometimes nurses (and doctors, and policemen, and firemen, and so forth) have to work on holidays -- even Thanksgiving -- she did not think that she might be required to work on a holiday against her wishes. Her managers, however, for reasons entirely their own, this year thought differently.

When Older Daughter stopped fulminating about the unfairness of it all, and agreed not to quit her job in protest, she suggested we move Thanksgiving instead.

Grateful that she was not insisting on an Act of Congress, we initiated negotiations with the rest of the family to see if it might be possible to have our Thanksgiving dinner on Black Friday.

That won't be possible this year. Middle Son has a wedding on Friday and so will certainly not be able to come. So we decided to organize Thanksgiving 1 and Thanksgiving 2 instead. Whoever can come to both, comes to both. Younger Daughter and Youngest Son, who will both be home from school, and are therefore available generally, wholeheartedly endorsed this plan. Older Daughter and her husband Hank have agreed in principle (mainly because Long Suffering Spouse relented and said they could bring their giant dog here too). Oldest Son has committed to Thursday; he is still casting about for an excuse to keep him from having to come back on Friday. He likes us well enough, you understand -- but he prefers us in small doses. And he and his wife are notoriously picky eaters; judging by the contents of their refrigerator (empty) they are particularly averse to home-cooked meals.

However, grateful as I am for having found this solution, I know another problem looms just over the horizon: I don't know how we can do a family Christmas portrait this year.

But I'll just bask in the triumph of this moment for as long as I can.

1 comment:

Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

just photoshop the photo curmy, it'll be wonderful! and two dinners? mmmmm, lucky YOU!

smiles, bee