Our Last Thanksgiving Together

This year we celebrated Thanksgiving a few days early.  We are planning to go to Israel for the Thanksgiving break, so we had our turkey dinner on Saturday.  We invited a starving University of Utah student intern and an awesome Marine who was once a Buddhist monk but is now a Mormon father of four (an amazing story for another time.)  So there were eight of us total.

The dinner was typical: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes and all the rest.  But this Thanksgiving was not so typical in another way.  This may have been the last Thanksgiving my family will spend all together for a very long time.  Next year, Cecily will be in the U.S. for college.  Two years after that, Ben will be gone.  Another two years and Noah leaves.  My children will slowly trickle away.  I tried not to think about it while I was busily cooking and while we were eating, but it was hard to lock those thoughts out completely.

Fact is, my family is growing older.  We are no longer a family of young kids.  We are in the thick of the teenage years.  Those years go by so quickly.  Last week, I had a group of BYU students to my house for a luncheon.  I swear that was just me, and now I’m the mother of teenagers who are prepping to fly the coop.  How did that happen?

And living abroad means that kids can’t come home for Thanksgiving.  We may get a few Christmases, but not Thanksgivings.  When we joined the Foreign Service, I knew we would eventually have to send our kids far away from us.  I tried not to think about it then, but now it’s unavoidable.  Cecily submitted her first college application today.  She’ll be gone soon.  I’m happy for her, but sad for myself.  Starting next year, when people meet Jason and me, they will assume we have only three children.  I will have to inform them that we really have four and our oldest is away at college.  I’m guessing it will hurt a little every time I say it.

See!  Our kids were small once.

See! Our kids were small once.

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4 comments

  1. Carrie Chiles · November 25, 2013

    Half of my 6 are gone now and it is getting stranger all the time… Since Reid turned 12, and all three boys are passing the sacrament (and I am a church widow), I sit alone for the first 20 minutes of the meeting… It seems just yesterday I was manhandling 6 busy bodies and now I am just that nice ‘older lady’ who looks kind of lonely on the pew by herself… strange transformations!

  2. Holly · November 25, 2013

    This hit a tender spot!
    At least we are trying to appreciate every day – what else can we do???

  3. Melissa · November 25, 2013

    Those same thoughts have been on my mind lately as well. In a few years I’ll have three young boys and three adult children. I’m having issues with this family dynamic.

  4. Glen T. Hale · November 25, 2013

    Aloha Erin,

    You are correct. It hurts each time….and, for me, it doesn’t go away.

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