From the time Chris began high school, we have had two different Thanksgiving breaks in our home.
The high school was in session Monday, Tuesday and half day Wednesday, whereas the elementary school (different district) received the entire week off.
It was never very conducive to relaxing and just being together as a family.
This year was different.
With LPP in Santa Barbara, our youngest and I hightailed it to the coast last week to bring her home. We spent the night in Pismo in order to break up the trip a tad.
Well, we were both so stinkin' excited about seeing her, I was awake at 330AM and Miss SPF was up and rarin' to go at 5:00am.
We were "scheduled" to arrive in Santa Barbara at 11:00am and have lunch with LPP and her new friends before class at 1:00pm.
The ONLY issue was the fact that from Pismo, the college in only 1.5 hours away.
We had more than 4 hours to kill... and neither of us could sleep.
We finally meandered over to the donut shop where our girl fell in love with her Chai Latte.
We hit the road...still early.
We took a detour and I showed her the house where my Mom lived and we spent lots of time growing up with our grandparents.
I shared with her that the top floor was one big room with one wall covered in bookshelves.
It occurred to me at that moment that the giant room that shared its space with the cavernous attic, were only huge in my childhood memory.
Looking at this photo now, I just realized the grass strip that used to be on the left in front of my grandparents' bedroom is now cement as well as next to what was once a gorgeous rose garden on the right.
I tried to describe the heavenly scent of jasmine as we walked down the side yard to the beautiful yard in the back.
That is something that had to be experienced.
It was magical.
Looking at the house, I was sad that it isn't the same, but I was pleased that it looks to be in good repair.
Although it should still be white with black trim.
After my trip down memory lane (even telling her where her Grandma's dear friend Jimmy lived) we continued down the road and arrived close to the designated time.
We loaded the car and visited.
Lunch was spent chatting and laughing.
Her friends are treasures and THAT makes me happy.
As we were finishing up, LPP's Professor came to our table and introduced himself to SPF and me. He knelt down to be eye level with our youngest and asked her who her favorite authors are and what books she is reading.
He was kind, engaging and interested in what she said.
THAT also makes me happy.
While we waited for LPP's class to be dismissed, she and I hunkered down in the library to read.
This girl was thrilled.
Thanksgiving festivities were spread over two days and was pretty spot on.
Dinner with hubby's family Wednesday evening was yummy and filled with kids home from college as well as toddler twins.
The anuuual basketball matchup was intense and was followed by a wrestling match...which was equally intense.
Thursday was spent at my sister's lovely home with food and décor to match.
We sat around the table sharing stories and telling tales.
As it should be.
I left my camera in the car so I am borrowing my sister's photos.
In addition to being a teacher every child should have to being a fantastic baker, she is also a wonderful photographer.
So often during the holidays, I plan so much stuff that "has" to be done, that I'm not truly present. This year was different.
Sure, there were things to do, but nothing set in stone.
LPP visited with friends who were home for visits.
She and I went to a movie.
We hunkered down on the couch for Hallmark Christmas movies.
Her brother came over for breakfast and took her out for a morning together.
We decorated an outfit for her ugly sweater party and we brought home our Christmas tree.
We were present.
We savored these days knowing that as life goes on and they grow up and move on, these times will become fleeting.
They are now cherished memories.