After my son was born, I did my best to make sure every holiday and every “first” was really special. He had the sweetest Easter bunny, the cutest Fourth of July outfit, the biggest pumpkin. I had all sorts of plans for his first Thanksgiving: I was going to make a turkey and stuffing and take a ton of pictures of us giving him his very first bite of pie. But as the holiday rolled around, I was frazzled. A relatively new mom to a 7-month-old, I was still adjusting and had started running my own business on top of everything else. I simply couldn’t carve out the time – or the energy – to spend hours slaving in the kitchen.
Then my husband came up with the best solution ever. “Let’s skip Thanksgiving. It’s too stressful right now. Just don’t do it.”
It was a novel idea, skipping a holiday. The wannabe Martha Stewart in me argued that with enough coffee, I could forego sleep altogether and get everything done. I could be the perfect mom and housewife and businesswoman. But reality won out. When Thanksgiving rolled around, the turkey stayed put in the freezer and we made our way to the only place in town that was open: Chinese barbecue.
We pointed to the rotisserie ducks spinning in the window. We ordered stuff we couldn’t pronounce. We took pictures of our still-unidentified food and posted it to Facebook, laughing at the harsh contrast between this holiday meal and the picturesque spreads of our friends. The restaurant didn’t have a high chair, so we plopped our son in his carseat on the table, right next to the giant duck. The place smelled funny, it was a little grimy, and nobody spoke a word of English.
Our baby’s first Thanksgiving was unconventional, to say the least. The little guy didn’t have a single bite of pumpkin pie. There was no cranberry sauce or recounting of what we were all thankful for. It was just me, my husband, my baby and an ugly rotisserie duck.
And to this day, it’s my favorite Thanksgiving memory.