Thanksgiving is a dangerous time of year. And I don’t mean “scary relatives who drink too much and eat the pie crust before it’s served.” I am talking about the Family Curse. Thanksgiving is a clear and present danger as far as I am concerned. We don’t get through Thanksgiving without a trip to the emergency room, or two, a relative (no matter how distant) landing in jail instead of the airport limousine, or lighting a cat on fire. So when I say Thanksgiving is dangerous, that’s what I mean.
Our kids are no fools either, they know about the curse, they have been its victims many times. They are so fearful of Thanksgiving’s menacing grip on us, that when I told them that this year we are going to Universal Studios and Disney for Thanksgiving Holiday, their response was not jumping up and down and running through the house, screaming with joy. No, all three looked at me and in complete seriousness and said “you know it’s not safe for us to travel at Thanksgiving.” True story.
I told them we should be okay, that our tickets are for the day after Thanksgiving so I think it will be safe for us to go, but I am not actually sure. And a little part of me fully expects to be dealing with a broken bone or missing organ over the holiday.
The Thanksgiving curse harkens all the way back to the year 2000. I spent Thanksgiving in Florida with my then significant other, and his family. I broke three ribs thinking I had skills on the jet-ski, taking my husband down with me. Did I mention it was my first time meeting his family? And that they thought I had a weird facial tick and breathing disorder, because I was in such excruciating pain that I couldn’t suck air without wincing and panting in little bursts. That was fun. They were super excited to have a potential daughter in law who walked hunched over to one side, twitching her cheeks and eyes, and making odd sounds. Yes, great first meet.
But that was a long time ago, you are thinking, one year with three broken ribs does not a curse make. And you are right. But then my son rode over my daughter’s arm with his bike and she had a broken arm. And that wasn’t— you know —ideal for getting the food on the table, as she was screaming in pain and my son was prostrate to the kitchen counter with his rosary, praying for forgiveness, rather than offering thanks. She survived— mainly thanks to our great non-pediatric hand surgeon who sees the kids, even though he doesn’t usually see kids, because we see the orthopedic surgeon more than our primary care doctor.
And you know, even after that Thanksgiving, I didn’t really think we were cursed. A string of bad luck, sure, but cursed? Meh, that’s being dramatic.
I might have had a year off of the turkey drama, if not for my dog eating a bulb of garlic that had been stuffed in a latex cooking glove. As he looked at us, wagging his tail, eyes bulging out of his head, we figured we had an emergency on our hands. My husband and his father took the poor dog to the vet, who was light-staffed, what with it being Thanksgiving Day. But the dog was dying the death of a vampire, and needed emergency surgery stat. And that is how my husband and his father, both neurosurgeons, ended up doing emergency surgery on the dog whilst the turkey roasted.
And I still wasn’t convinced we were doomed until two turkeys ago in 2012, when we were all set to travel to Florida to spend Thanksgiving with my in-laws (again). My son was disappointed because he had been thrown from a horse the Friday before we were due to leave and broken his hand. He smiled at me with his arm in that cute little green cast, and begged for some special swim covers for the broken arm in question, so he could swim on his trip. I spent the Saturday after his injury packing for our travels, cast covers and all.
My husband was on call the weekend before Thanksgiving that year, and so I was busy—three kids, no help, and bags to be packed. The good news was that we had managed to eat everything and would be leaving with an empty fridge.
I zippered up the last suitcase the Sunday before Thanksgiving at 4PM as my middle son walked into the room and said “I can’t go to tennis.”
“We’ve been over this,” I said. “Just play tennis with your right hand—do the one handed back hand.”
“No mommy, the tummy ache I have had for two weeks is worse. It hurts when I walk.”
“Stand on one foot and jump.”
I called the nurse in my husband’s scrub room. “Please tell Dr. B that I am sorry to interrupt brain surgery, but that I am taking the middle child to the Chiildren’s Hospital to have his appendix out.” But how could you have known it was appendicitis you wonder? Easy, I had my appendix out when I was seven months pregnant with the child standing in front of me moaning in pain.
With no time to waste, I deposited the two other kids with neighbors and friends kind enough to take them in for the three day run leading up to Thanksgiving. We went to the hospital and he had his appendix out, with the cast he had been put in just three days before. Bright note? Met the deductible. We made a few calls to my dad to see if he wanted to join us since we wouldn’t be leaving town, and he did.
I panicked when I realized, not only did I not have food for Thanksgiving, I didn’t have any food period. So a dear sweet friend ordered me takeout Thanksgiving from the gourmet market.
And we survived. We accidentally lit a cat on fire that year but we put him out before any real damage was done.
We are hoping to break the curse this year, but anything goes. The wonderful thing about the curse is I am so focused on making sure we don’t have any accidental amputations that I can’t be bothered to sweat the small stuff like dried out turkey and sage in the stuffing. We just shoot for alive, healthy, fed and not on fire.
Congratulations @scarymommy they will be feeding every family who requested assistance this year thanks to everyone who helped– over 2000 families!!!
Big surprises and giveaways tomorrow and next week!!