Thanksgiving week. In America, Thanksgiving gives Christmas a run for its money. People work Monday and Tuesday planning when they can take off on Wednesday, and the whole country shuts down Thursday and Friday. Our sons’ schools were shut all week, much to Husband’s distress. It’s consumerism at its best; Black Friday sales beginning at 3 am and all stores perform double back-flips (especially in this economy) to get your attention and shop.
The meal in itself – turkey, all the trimmings, five different pies and copious amount of alcohol – is enough food for the whole weekend. It’s a successful dinner if you feel sick at the end of the night and most people achieve that beautifully. But what is truly fantastic about Thanksgiving, and what makes it my most favorite holiday, is the lack of religion connected to the holiday; the idea that this day is for all of us Americans regardless. Giving thanks is something families forget to do often enough together and this is one day where that theme can’t be avoided.
My five year old’s class was asked to tell a few parents about the meaning of Thanksgiving. One little boy stood up and said, “This is the day when the poor people in England were mad at the King for not letting them think what they wanted and so they all came over to America on the ship called the Mayflower…even the Jews!”
My sister had a fabulous cocktail party the night before in which she gave a loving speech about being thankful for us being here this year. It’s been at least five years since we’ve all been together. I then was asked to speak and as I looked out at the room full of familiar faces, I realized how we have indeed settled into a total life here. Up until that night, LA felt like a life-style filled with my family and a few close friends, and London is where our life is, where Husband and I made a life together. Right now, I feel that both are very real and trust me, I am forever thankful for that. A strange and wonderful reality.
Our boys, well, the fact that they are all happy and thriving, that I spend very little time worrying about their state of minds is both natural – for them and for me – and a relief. It’s true what they say about kids: if you – the parents – are happy and their home-life is stable, then they can do anything. They’re incredibly adaptable if you give them consistent love, attention and laughter. Mine require a lot of running as well. Again, I say this having yet to go through puberty with any of them, but for the most part they all seem game with any plan we hatch, any change, any course, which is amazing.
I sat next to a famous celeb at a school function. I was in my own world and didn’t click who she was at first. Then I noticed that everyone was looking at us, well, her, and only then connected the dots. I had a glimpse into how strange and uncomfortable her world is and really acknowledged that I didn’t want to be a famous actress. It’s taken me the best part of 25 years to accept that I’m really not going to get discovered by Spielberg at the market – even Husband seems to leave me on the cutting room floor, and now I am happy to add I wouldn’t want it anyway!
Me and celeb ended up chatting for a long time about how to raise conscious, well mannered, nice kids who can remain thankful in the midst of having so much. Some would say that she has tainted one of her sons with a sunglasses line that he supposedly designs, but the truth of our 90 minutes together was that she is also a mom trying to navigate through the crap that can surround our children in the hopes that wherever they may live or travel, they will not behave spoiled, they’ll have a strong sense of themselves, and of right and wrong, and give back something to the world. In her case, the new Gucci kids sunglasses line.
Hollywood can be holy weird, a place where even the postman is an actor. For me, it represents a state of fluctuations whereby the end product of any given day can shape the rest of my year. It’s part of a big city, spread out amongst the ocean and mountains with desert just beyond. In the middle of Los Angeles county of which there are 4752 square miles and 11 million people, everyone actually doesn’t know each other and people still come here to make their dreams come true. There is optimism amongst the sarcasm, and most people still say ‘Have a nice day’.
Post Thanksgiving, now shopping for the next massive family dinner – a Chanukah party at my brother’s this weekend. I look forward to this time of year even though when it comes, so too comes the flood of stress, emotion, end of year promises and regrets, and school crescendos that take up more time than I have. I can’t believe that London is now a trip around the corner; a marker for us at the first term’s passing and a chance to flip our lives back for three weeks.
I check the weather on my cell phone every morning for Santa Monica and London. I flick the screen back and forth, back and forth. Today, as I sat in my car at the Starbucks drive-through (!!) it read sunny days ahead, mainly 60’s for here and snowy days in the 30’s over there. Now, you may hear a snicker from me as I sit in the sun writing this in my shorts and UGGs as I can hear a snicker from London friends that I managed to get a cappuccino without leaving my car. But the truth is, half the time I romanticize about the roaring fires and the cozy nights, the blinding white snow that reflects so heavily off the ground that everything looks bright and the fur coats you get to wear for months in London…and then I wake up!