What exactly prompted me to book a flight less than 24 hours in advance to go visit extended family in Virginia with my own family of 7? Good question. I had given up on visiting my family for the holidays since we had spent 3 weeks there this past summer. I was doing responsible adulting and saving money.
Then my friend Amiyrah’s husband lost his grandmother, and she posted a challenge on Facebook that I took seriously. “I have a challenge for you. If you’ll be experiencing Thanksgiving with the elders of your family, take the time to sit and listen to them. Do this without asking a million questions. Let them share their stories with no interruptions. Open your ears, so the stories can fill your heart. Encourage your kids to do the same. If you’re grateful to have them in your life, show them by honoring the many experiences they’ve had. One day in the future, you’ll think back and be so glad that you did this. Trust me.” Don’t you love that kind of friend that always inspires you to be better? That’s Amiyrah.
This reminded me of my crazy paternal grandparents. They are both Bolivian, stubborn, funny, and sometimes rude. Often rude. Mainly to each other. They are both in their nineties and over it. Sometimes it makes me laugh, sometimes it makes me sad, sometimes it makes me roll my eyes, but I always enjoy the sparkle in their eyes when they see my children. For a moment they get lost in the joy of children’s hugs, forgetting what it’s like to not have their bodies do what they want them to do.
So I decided to check out airfares just for fun since my kids kept asking to go to my mom’s house for Thanksgiving. Thank you Southwest Airlines for having last-minute affordable fares! I took it as a sign. So, ready…set..go!
In less than 24 hours:
I purchased plane tickets, made phone calls to see if we were even invited for Thanksgiving, made sure my husband was ok with this plan, cancelled our Thanksgiving dinner reservations, had friends come over for a play date, did 6 loads of laundry, charged all the electronics, packed for 7 people, went to the mall to exchange pants for my daughter that she never ended up bringing on the trip, remembered to stop our mail for a few days, went to World Market to buy a bed for another daughter, because the sale ended that day, stopped by Target, answered some emails, got a little bit of sleep, went to the airport and flew to DC with my crew. Whew. What a whirlwind 24 hours! And the longest run-on sentence ever.
Did I forget toothbrushes and coats? Sure. But hey, I remembered the important stuff! Clorox, EpiPen, One Direction headphones, charger, and hand sanitizer. Winning! What? I can’t be the only one who sanitizes all the surfaces on the plane, right?
Would I do it again? In a heartbeat. So we may have to delay our Disney Cruise a bit to save more money, but in the meantime, I’ll be listening to my grandparents bicker and opening my ears to the times my Abuelo played professional soccer in Bolivia. I’ll even enjoy listening to my Abuela throw some shade at my Abuelo and snicker out of his earshot for her benefit. I’ll be thankful I got my feistiness from them. Oh and that sweet sound of cousins playing and laughing? Priceless. But I may have to sneak out on a movie date with my husband. This is what family memories are made of, and I have much to be grateful for. Happy Thanksgiving, y’all!