Sick days, birthdays and Thanksgiving

Dear Readers,

I’m recovering from another long stretch of Max being sick. Yes. Again! And his 5th birthday swirl (he rallied for his party last weekend…just in the nick of time) and tomorrow is Thanksgiving.

We’ll be following up with a variety of doctors to try to find out why Max keeps getting sick; 4 times since school started in September, to be exact. Here’s how it breaks down: Actual days Max was sick: 40. Days of school missed: 25 Days of school attended: 25

Invitation and thank you card art for Max's birthday

On the plus side, Max had a great birthday and I’m happy and proud he’s turned five and has such a nice bunch of friends.

Hotwheels birthday cake

This week, Max is back to school (yay, 3 days in a row today!) and I’ve been picking him up earlier than usual. I love the little chats us moms (it is mostly moms) have while waiting for the class doors to open. Yesterday, I walked into an already started conversation about a child with broken bones who was (thankfully) healing. We each mentioned, “Oh, there was that time….” when he/she fell, that moment they stumbled, down stairs, or tripped over themselves, or knocked into a table. Sharp corners, stairs, walls that heads get banged into during a tantrum. One offers, “They are accidents waiting to happen.” Another, “they are always covered in bruises.” Our joint fears we’ll  be reported as unfit. Children get hurt. They are often covered in bruises. Knees, shins, elbows.

There are visits to the emergency room, X-rays, CT scans. All were OK in the end. “Whoa, this is depressing.” Says a woman, perhaps a friend, visiting, or maybe she is an aunt. She does not have children. Another mom turns to her and says, “This is what we talk about.”

I say, “Yes, we live in fear. We live with fear and the overcoming of fear. Every day. ” It is refreshing to be able to say  this out loud and not whispered as if it’s a fact  we all know, but needs to be unspoken. I appreciate when parents can be  real with each other. I think it helps everyone.

The classroom doors open, and like nothing, we are smiling, ready to greet our kids, ready for them to either rush at us, or away from us. Be ready to go  home, or not ready and wishing to stay. We smile, because we know we all go through the same things. A 5 minute conversation among moms who are bonded together because they are all parents, all parents of 4s and 5s. All parents of kids in one class. All moms who are afraid, who carry on with a smile to greet their kids. And who are always thankful, every day, for the one acceptable outcome: “It was OK in the end.” Like punctuation, it is so. The complete thought of what having kids is. Living in fear, overcoming the fear. We can’t imagine what if, but we actually can. And that scares us. But then we also smile.

When we lived upstate, there were parking lot conversations at pick up or drop off. Here it is in the halls, or on the sidewalk outside. They are all the same. Fleeting, quick, and always interrupted conversations where we  remember we’re not alone, exchange ideas, tips, complain about the latest  challenge (that could be our kids, or ours). Sometimes it is just an eye roll. Or an understanding shrug, or an I “get it” look. And having done that, we  smile, and put our brave faces on. For our kids, who are also afraid, and  look to us for comfort.

So, I am thankful, most days, for everything I have. My family. My friends. Other parents who are going through the same things we are. Trees. Food. Water. Electricity! All good stuff.

Today, I think it’s  also good to remember that this holiday is born from terrible suffering and genocide of  Native Americans. They were here first. Their land, ways, culture, and families were destroyed and devastated. They died in the tens of millions.   I learned the facts as a child in a suburb of Boston, MA. I don’t remember my parents having Thanksgiving dinners. In Israel, we didn’t have them, either.

I’ve  become quite a fan of the holiday since being back in the States in the late 80s. I  was invited to family dinners and I went. Who can argue with delicious food, good times with family, days off from work, or being thankful?  I’m not saying we shouldn’t celebrate Thanksgiving, and all the aspects of it which are quite lovely and thoroughly enjoyable, but I do think we need to remember the truth of what happened here. For some, this is not a holiday, but a day of mourning. I found this piece which speaks for itself.  Just something to think about.

Looking at a tree that didn't fall

I  wish you  a very happy thanksgiving with health, love, and food for all. I’m thankful you’re in my life. And I’m especially thankful to you, dear readers, for continuing to read this, and to those of you who pass it on to others, I deeply appreciate that and thank you!

With gratitude and peace,

Elana

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