Thanksgiving Part 2: The Thankful Part


Here’s a picture from the first year we brought T to Thanksgiving. Cute, right? I think we managed to stay for about 20 minutes. From the beginning, social situations have been scary and challenging for T. I still shudder when I recall my dear friend stooping to say hello, and T responding by punching her right in the snout. At that time, aggression was a daily occurrence for us. I was covered in bite marks. Scott and I would struggle to smile, while vigilantly monitoring him at gatherings. We were masters of the quick exit. The car ride home from T’s first three Thanksgivings were tear-filled. I think Scott may have even offered a few drops to the communal river.

This is T now, at the drums in the front of the room. Just look at that confident kid.


At first, he wasn’t super-psyched about Thanksgiving, because all of the kids attending were older and he was worried he wouldn’t have anyone to play with. Then, the other kids (the most terrific teens in existence- they give me hope for the whole species), had the idea to have a family jam. I mentioned it to Tariku and he immediately lit up and begged to bring his drums. I very hesitantly asked if we could bring his kit, while acknowledging that it was potentially the world’s worst idea. They responded with a resounding YES.

The other kids even learned the Phineas and Ferb theme song to play with him. Scott jumped in as well. At six years old, Tariku sat in front of a room full of about twenty-five people and was funny, focused, and good.

When Scott was a kid, discovering music saved his life. It gave him a passion, a sense of purpose, something to dream about, something to work for. For me, that thing was books. Through books, I felt connected to the world around me.

At Thanksgiving, I believe I was seeing the seeds of that very process for my own son. As soon as he sat down and started to play, he was glowing with pride and purpose.


And you see this guy I’m sitting next to… I’ve known my friend Colin since I was seventeen years old. Back then he had really long hair and always wore a black motorcycle jacket. I had really nineties hair and wore…well, I generally wore a lot less than I do now. His teenage singer/songwriter son blew me away. How strange, these 10,000 miles of road behind us. How surreal and incredible to see our kids now the ones at the front of the room, playing their hearts out. I’m so thankful we’ve made it far enough to see this happen.

Every year we write what we’re thankful for for on the tablecloth. Here is this year’s contribution:


Wild Things

Halloween is our thing around here. I start thinking about next year’s costumes by about Christmas. I sometimes get impatient and put us in costumes for our Christmas pictures. But this year I have to tell you, I was tempted to call it off. I actually suggested putting an “abducted by aliens” sign on the door and going to hide out in Joshua Tree or something.

All the travel lately has me generally fatigued. I feel like I’m doing my best to just keep from getting too horribly behind on my work, while the laundry piles up and the to-do list grows and the house falls down around me. I know you hear me, moms. Sometimes holidays can seem like more of a chore than a celebration.

BUT when I saw T in his Max from Where the Wild Things Are costume, I pretty much said- well, let the house fall down. It’s worth it.

I think my favorite moment was the very beginning of the night, when T and I went to the neighbor’s house, where his friend Presley was dressed as Sandra Dee. Presley’s parents were blasting the Grease soundtrack and we all had a big dance party.

It was one of those moments that I wished I could have frozen in amber and put in my pocket. So I can put my hand around it every time I’m driven to the very edge of my patience and tempted to say, “BECAUSE I SAID SO THAT’S WHY” (or some profanity-laden version of that). So I can pull it out and look at it and remember that this is all I ever wanted- it really is.

Scott and I were Wild Things, of course. T went trick or treating with his BFF Bedelu and they were pretty polite and awesome. After a few houses, I even stood at the curb and watched him go. I only intervened when he started trying to eat all the candy at once, wrappers and all.

Friends came by. We got over 800 trick-or-treaters this year. We ran out of candy and started giving out change from our coin jar.

Best costume went to our genius friend Sharon McGunigle (aka Venus DeMille– for you burlesque fans out there). She was in a motion capture suit- complete with green screen.