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.