Living in a country that doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving has started to feel a little bit normal, and I never thought I would say that.
Thanksgiving becomes something of an afterthought. Something we need to fit into our schedule, since it’s not a holiday and everyone has to work or go to school.
I wonder if I could ever go back to the expectation of a full turkey and all the fixings…even though the menu of a Thanksgiving meal has always been one of my favorites. As a matter of fact, I love it so much that one year early in our marriage, I insisted to my husband that we re-do Thanksgiving on New Year’s Day and invite people over for it.
But now, we have to “sneak it in.”
As a person who will be waxing on poetically over the next few weeks about “living out our Ideal holidays”–meaning, in accordance with who we are and not the expectations put on us by others, and as someone who loves to invent new traditions –Thanksgiving has been a notably difficult one to bring into full bloom in our French life.
Last year, I spent Thanksgiving storytelling and doing a craft with my boys’ classes at school. It was, at the very least for me, a nice way to mark the occasion.
Coincidentally enough, I will be back in their classrooms on Thanksgiving Day again this year, but this year it isn’t about Thanksgiving. This year, the first sessions of our Wool is Cool project will happen on Thanksgiving Day.
So. Is being in my boys’ classrooms a new Thanksgiving tradition? Or is this just a fluke? Time will tell!
In any case, there is one tradition that I don’t want to let fall by the wayside, and that is the Lily Fields tradition of Thankfulness Week: That is, spending some time each day of Thanksgiving week celebrating the people and things that make my life better.
So, here we go
Scalawag 2: My Mini-Me
This is my youngest scalawag. He is currently five, and will be six shortly after the new year.
He is my very beating heart on the outside of my body. He’s dramatic, he’s funny, he’s popular and he’s wickedly smart.
He’s in a mixed-age kindergarten, something widespread in France where 2-3-4-5 year olds are together and the older kids are given responsibility for the younger kids in an age-appropriate way.
To say he’s popular sounds like a strange thing to say about a five year-old, but it’s worth noting to me because this child, who is tall and stocky for his age, is a gentle, benevolent buddy to kids in his class who are two, just turning three. He also is a rough and tumble wrestler with kids his own size, but he understands the power of the word “STOP”.
The word popular describes him, because he is invited to everyone’s birthday party. If only 5 kids are invited to a birthday party, this kid is one of the 5. (This is the financial aspect of being popular that no one ever talks about!)
You may remember, months ago, when I was talking on the podcast about the overlap between parenting and sexuality, and I talked about how important it was to me that my children understand consent, and that we were learning about it now as it pertained to our bodies in a non-sexual way…about how I wanted to raise boys who were thoughtful, observant, patient and self-controlled, and pray that these would one day carry over into their adult life?
Yes, well, this kid is proving to me every day that he gets this, and he is putting it to work at school in ways that prove that these lessons, which I initally understood and intended to be about sexuality, are very much broader life lessons that actually make a person undeniably attractive and popular in all kinds of ways. Whoda thunk it?
Just look at that kid. He has a global reserve of joy. He is a national treasure.
I guess my role as his parent is just not to mess him up.
So this week, I am firstly thankful for this scalawag, for his stockpile of joy, for who he is becoming, and for all the happiness he brings to those around him.