Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

Last April, not long after discovering I was pregnant, Gene and I had a choice to make: when and how would we tell my parents?  My mom was getting ready to leave for a trip to visit family in the mid-west, and was planning to be gone for about 3+ months. 

Our options:
  1. Wait until she returned in August to tell my family... and everyone else.
  2. Tell my dad and brother but forbid them from telling Mom until her return.
  3. Allow my 1st trimester to pass without incident and tell Mom over the phone.
  4. Assemble the three of them and tell them prior to Mom's departure, even though I was just a month along.
We chose door #4.  Having never been pregnant, and being nearly 37 years old, this was a tough decision.  What if something, anything, went wrong?  Not only would we deal with the heartbreak of losing a pregnancy, but we'd have to break others' hearts after getting hopes up.  It was a gamble but one that paid off.

Gene and I had fun figuring out how to tell my family about Bean's existence.  My mom had been grousing about a broken travel mug, so we bought one at Starbucks for which you can customize the insert.  Gene typed my due date - which is my mom's birthday - in a small font on the insert.  Inside the mug we put a bib that said something about going to Grandma's house.  It was tricky to assemble the 5 of us before Mom left without raising suspicion.  But we managed somehow.

In mid-April we all sat down and watched Mom open her going-away gift.  She didn't notice the date on the mug & simply thanked us for it.  I knew that she'd open the mug in a few minutes and watched her like a hawk while the family chatted.  Sure enough, about 5 minutes later she popped the lid off and saw the Carter's tag on the bib.  That possibility hadn't occurred to clueless-about-babies me but she got the message loud and clear: we were there not to say good-bye but with Big Important News.

She looked over at me, mouth agape.  Gene, knowing what was happening, watched quietly.  Mom couldn't speak.  She blinked at me and I nodded, then she and I both started to cry. 

My dad and brother were utterly perplexed by the weird female telepathic scene unfolding before them.

I don't remember quite what went down next but I do recall my brother, upon figuring out our message of an expected baby, pushing his chair back and saying, "Whoa.  What just happened here?!?"

Dad broke out the champagne and everyone (except me) had some.  I think that my parents each had 2 or more glasses, to be honest!  They were thrilled, having pretty much given up on ever becoming grandparents because of my advanced years and my brother's lack of interest in committed relationships.

After the initial shock started to wear off, my dad asked me the due date.  I responded "12/15".  He thought for a minute, then issued this proclamation:
"This year, we're going out to dinner for Thanksgiving."

You have to understand that my dad is known for non-sequitors.  Half of the time I wonder if he can't hear, the rest of the time I suspect he's simply not paying attention to the conversation or is so uninterested in it that he randomly changes the subject to whatever appeals to him more.  For him to have declared 7 months ago that we would eat out for Thanksgiving is surprising but not entirely out of character.  I halfway think he'd been looking for a reason to do this anyway.

Dad called Shenanigan's the next day, only to be told that they weren't taking reservations until September.  I bet that those were some of the longest months of my dad's life!

So this year, instead of doing all the typical Thanksgiving meal preparations, my parents, brother, husband and I will be headed to a buffet at a nice restaurant on Tacoma's waterfront.  I plan to eat as much crab and shrimp as possible, especially since many of the traditional Thanksgiving side dishes and desserts are off-limits with my gestational diabetes.

Don't tell anyone, but I've ordered a fresh turkey and it's being delivered today.  I'm going to roast it on Friday, when Gene and I will have a mini-Thanksgiving dinner at home.  Whatever's left on Sunday will get made up into heat-n-eat meals for after Bean gets here.  I'm considering trying my hand at pasties (like Hot Pockets, only homemade).

Have yourselves a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.  From our family to yours, may you spend the day in the company of loved ones and with a spirit of gratitude for the many blessings we all enjoy.

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