(Ninja Pop on left, Ninja Nammy on right)
My Ninjas (in-laws) are in town and we have been biz-eee. Visiting, eating, shopping, giggling, preparing to eat, getting coffee, wondering what's for dinner, and touring the local attractions. *By local attractions, I totally mean my favorite diner shack that makes every meal feel like someone in the kitchen loves you. Tour Guide Extraordinaire up in here. Who has gained five pounds in eleven days. Boo-yah.
Also, I've forced Nammy to join me in seasonal browsing at every possible thrift store this side of the Mississippi. Where's Pop been, you ask? At a nearby train shop. Every day since he got here. Passionately reconfiguring Andy's inherited miniature train set in our garage, Pop has been the busiest of us all. He's almost finished with the layout in order to build his village. I'll show you pictures soon.
Until I can get my brain around them leaving way too early in the morning tomorrow, I'll leave you with a few pictures of the last two weeks. I'm a little
How was your Thanksgiving. Quiet or chaotic? Silly or serious? Where did you spend yours? Did you make something traditional from your past? Where do you stand on cranberry slaw?
Ours was peaceful and calm.
Kids and I hit up the Pinterest Kids Craft section pretty hard.
There were more name cards than people attending.
Found this idea on Pinterest too. Add pictures of far away beloveds to your centerpiece.
So I added all of the pictures of every beloved.
There were more pictures than there were guests attending...every dinner across America.
There's Grampy far left, my dad and siblings middle, Grammy who just passed recently front and center...
And gold spray painted leaves for a fancy yet homey feel.
(Pinterest is helping me work through some things.)
And then there was this odd zero-rain-induced rainbow over our house right before dinner. The boys saw this perplexing polka dot of light pouring out rays toward our house and thought I might be interested. Interested. I left a voicemail with Theresa from Long Island Medium two minutes later. That stuff is miracle grown.
Miracle or not, folks still gotta eat.
Ninja Nammy getting things ready for the big meal.
The Big Peanut Fried Meal
Ninja Pop serving us up.
Sweet weekend houseguest
Peaceful and calm is a drastic turn from the familiar raucous frenzy that has been the wonderful norm for us in the past. My family and I are not a reserved bunch once we all get together. Before
Rightfully so, this year has a big vacuous hole in it. A crappy undeniable hole that felt more cavernous leading up to the actual Thursday. It was a big first without Jimmy. Once Thursday finally hit, I let myself privately choke on tears in the shower. Release from an all too prickly buildup. Suddenly it was an hour later where I couldn't pick myself off the shower floor and guests were arriving. Hard water scalding my shoulders as I just gave the hell in. It wasn't a pity sob or a desperate wail. It was a release from keeping it all in. Typically, I'm a sharer. Fine, over-sharer. So bottling up angst quietly isn't easy for this chatterbox. Oh okay, now's good... Here I am alone and nobody will feel awkward if I bring up his name. Nobody will be irritated that I haven't moved on. Nobody will look the other way. To give myself permission to feel Jimmy's absence on a day that means him, Boomps, Boompa, Mom, & Eric at my most historical core. We were Thanksgiving years ago with Boomps' camcorder taping every bite we took during dinner. Nobody talking at first, then Jimmy cracking the first joke about how one of us will be discovered once these VHS tapes hit Hollywood, and probably it would be Mom. She'd always check her teeth in a dinner knife without missing a beat. These two could've gone on the road.
The Redskins game would be turned on before chocolate pudding pie was fed to Rhett, our ancient, balding sweetheart of a dog. Dishes piling next to the sink, awaiting our return from a post-gluttonous eating walk. Every year, always the same. It's probably why my heart still welcomes fall with full expectation of empirical greatness.
Top & Bottom Pic - Jimmy with his parents (my Boomps & Boompa)
Top Pic - Eric and Me (wearing Jimmy's shirt he gave me, still have it...score!)
Bottom Pic - Me and Jimmy playing a heated (yawn) round of Simon Says.
Both pics are of Jimmy and my mom. They are one year apart and share the same quirk.
Top Pic- 4yo me, Jimmy, "Uncle Dee-Dee" (his GF then), 6yo Eric
Bottom Pic - Jimmy with Boompa (his mom, my grandma) in our living room. Don't you love that Bookwork lamp? I think Eric has it now.
Jimmy with a not quite geriatric yet Rhett
So yes. I give into my sadness occasionally because that time has passed forever. But it's a beautiful sadness because I understand now, more than ever, what it means to have them, him, all of those dirty dishes, imprinted on my soul.
It's not exactly acceptance, but it's close.