I'm married. I have a kid in her emerging tantrum years, a surgery-needing dog, a mortgage, receding hairline, while surrounded by suburban neighbors that view holiday yard decorations and grass height as a sign of one's manhood. Living the dream here.
But something magical happened recently despite the odds. The wife and I came to a truly mutual decision and it involved family. Unbelievable. It's taken 5+ years but like when Jerry and his fiancee have their mutual breakup on Seinfeld, it really happened!
The decision was to stay home for Thanksgiving. A big decision as neither of us had ever spent a T-day away from family or friends. An even bigger deal as the newest grand kid likely meant a tough battle for hosting rights amongst the competing families, and I was expecting a street brawl. So which is it, a five hour drive of cheerio feedings and screaming or a manic airport and two hour flight also with cheerios and some screaming? "Screw it. Let's stay home!" said in perfect harmony. Beautiful.
Quick side note; does anyone else feel like they've got a bomb strapped to them when they drag a toddler on an airplane? My single greatest dad fear (next to hearing "Daddy, want to see my new tattoo?"); baby-meltdown on an airplane. I go through security now feeling like I'm smuggling a spider monkey with a pound of blow. If TSA ever implements the anxiety sensors as part of screening, it's straight to the cavity search-only line for me. Sitting in the seat with her, I keep staring, sweating, counting down the seconds, hoping we land before the timer reaches zero. Or is it just me?
So to recap, the past four days were glorious as a married-with-children life can provide. I made the turkey and it was one of the best I've ever had. Turned leftovers into a mean turkey gumbo. (I should mention that I can cook and am acting chef for this outfit.) I had complete control; of the menu, the remotes, the bathroom, the beer supply. There was no fighting greedy in-laws or obnoxious siblings for leftovers. No sneaking off to a back bedroom to catch a quick peak at the game. No dirty looks or commentary when I went for another beer. No elders telling us our kid is too skinny, too fat, talks too much, doesn't talk enough, or what she should or shouldn't be eating. Sure the wife missed the chaotic house full of family and constant noise but then she did get to eat a whole pumpkin pie, by herself and I even let it pass. It's her holiday too.
Just four days of our rules, doing it our way. A few more years like this, and we'll be agreeing on Christmas. At least there's hope...