Evan, Danny, and I spent the day in the ER over the weekend.
No fun, sure, but it was also quite the victory. We fully expected for Evan to get admitted, but the doctors figured it out in the ER, we took him home, and he’s doing a lot better.
This day, however, solidified a decision I’d been toying with for weeks: We are not making plans for Thanksgiving.
I’ll be honest–I’ve heard people wanting to do this in years past and thought it was selfish and boring. Add it to the list of lessons I’ve learned since becoming a mom of a medically complex baby…
When my sister texted me about Thanksgiving plans while I sat in the ER holding a sleeping Evan, the decision was made right away.
Here are my (and our, but I don’t want to fully speak for my hubby here) honest reasons for staying home this Thanksgiving:
1. I am excited to cook for my little family.
The Ronald McDonald House (at least the one near Lurie Children’s in Chicago) has this huge community kitchen in it. Often, Danny and I would joke that we didn’t understand the people who would cook their own meals there, since volunteers provide lunch and dinner almost every day. We laughed that we wouldn’t be taking any time to cook unless we had to.
At the same time, I get it. Particularly as a woman and a mom, there is a certain pride that comes with cooking a meal for your family. When I envision our Thanksgiving together, it feels really nice to the the one in the kitchen for the four of us. Plus, Emerie and I always have fun cooking together, so it’s fun to envision the two of us doing some of it together.
Let’s be clear, though, I’m not going crazy on this meal, haha. I’ll work hard on cooking a couple of special things, but the other things are getting bought from the store. No use biting off more than I can chew…since there is enough to chew these days!
2. It frees us up to start some traditions of our own.
I keep having this little pang of guilt that, without going to some sort of big gathering, Emerie is going to think that Thanksgiving is just any other day. So, I have been considering things we could do to make the day feel special, and that we can even carry forward into our holidays in the future.
I’m thinking our new little Thanksgiving tradition will be to get a new game and spend some family game time together. This year it will probably be Hi-Ho Cherrio or Candyland, and I’m already excited to sit together and teach Emerie how to play.
3. I don’t want to have to meet anyone’s expectations but ours.
Here’s where things get a little deeper. For me, the holidays can be frustrating because I feel such a strong expectation to please other people.
Even just typing that makes me feel sleezy, because, really, the holidays are supposed to be about other people.
The difference is, though, that I, and I’m sure many, many of you, find ourselves pleasing others at our own expense, particularly during the holidays. We put aside what we really want to do what someone else thinks we should do.
Maybe it’s just that people will probably give me a free pass this year, but this seems like as good a year as any to set aside everyone else’s wants and expectations and unapologetically do what feels best for us.
4. I want to soak up some uninterrupted time together.
All other reasons aside, this is our true purpose for hiding out at home this Thanksgiving. We have missed out on so much precious time together. We have been so fortunate to be back home with Evan doing better, but our weekends all together at home are usually sprinkled with more than a few responsibilities.
So, this Thanksgiving, we really get to step aside from all of those responsibilities and enjoy being together as a family.
Who knows what the years to come will bring. Next year, I may be right back on the selfish-and-boring-to-stay-at-home train (although I hope I have learned enough to remove the judgement in this process and just see it as a you-do-you moment).
Truly, who knows what the next few days will bring, because this whole thought process could be for naught and we could be back in the hospital. You just never know.
But, this year, we’re taking a step back to decide what is most important to us and unapologetically follow that. It may certainly look different every year, but I also hope that we continue to keep it simple and do whatever meets our greatest good as a family every year, regardless of the challenges we face.
And, regardless of your challenge this year, I hope the same for you. 🙂