Nope, no turducken, but the rest of it was pretty good. Met J. and his daughter (first one; then two) to watch them blow up the balloons for the Thanksgiving Day Parade. It was good, but soon got too cold for my whiny kids, and honestly - I don't do well in crowds... so it became a bit much for me (dealing with the cold, the whining, the crowds... not a good mix!) But still - I was glad we did it, and next year will be better...
After the balloons we went back to J.'s house for dinner. My kids, his kids and dinner. It was really great. I realized when I went through the photos that I didn't get any actual photos of the dinner, which really sucks... but I think I was just a little too nervous... ALTHOUGH - it really really went well. So well that it wasn't even anything. Like totally normal. Like this is something we do every day. I was almost like -- wait -- Where's The Drama?!?! Nope. None. Just a regular 'ole dinner. Afterwards we hung out. THen we all went to sleep( J had bought the boys Power Rangers sleeping bags, so the boys kept saying how it was camping... with the sleeping bags & all...
His kids are so totally cool. So sweet, relaxed, and really really good with my kids. Of course I can't begin to say that I "know" them now, but it was as good a beginning to the process as I could have asked for - and you gotta start somewhere!
The next morning we hung out, watched the parade on tv (were going to go, but it was just too darn rainy!) and made waffles. Ok, J and the kids made waffles, I made myself useful by snapping zillions of pictures! It was really nice, relaxing, and again - normal.
We took the train to CT for the next part of the holiday - to avoid the holiday traffic... But Grand Central Station was a mad house! It was crazy! Made it there alive, though - and the kids even though surviving on not too much sleep - were troopers on the train.
CT was ok. My family is starting to split - the religious right on one side, and the left on the other. That's really the only way I can describe it. It's just that we are moving so far apart in terms of values, etc... that I find I just really cannot tolerate being with them. So very concerned with money, so insular, so.... shallow.... and I know family is family - and I try... but they keep driving me away. Example: I didn't hear this, but my sister said my cousin's husband made a comment about rounding up all the Muslims... She showed some good sense and restraint and pointedly got up & disengaged herself from the conversation. But if I had been there.... ooh boy! What a horrible, horrible, horrible thing to say - as a person, but especially as a Jew! I tell you - I think about it now and still get upset.
Then, at the end of the day Max comes over to me and says "I have stupid toys. I don't want my toys any more. My cousin Alysson has so many cool toys - and she has some upstairs in her room AND in a play room, I ONLY have in my room!" I looked at him and so wanted to say: "But Max, Alysson has been through an awful divorce where she has been used and manipulated. Her mother doesn't care for her, her father doesn't know what to do with her, and the only real care she gets is from her grand parents. So, she has a lot of toys." But of course... I didn't. I did say that I would gladly throw out all his "stupid" toys and give them to kids who do not have any. And also explained that as he goes through life (don't you love those "as you go through life" lectures!) he will meet people who have more, and people who have less - and that's just how it is. (Yes, yes, I know - should have used the "be thankful for what you have" lecture, but...)
Sorry - this is turning into a novel! Now I have to get into the shower! To Be Continued.