Friday, November 28, 2014


We did something very different this year for Thanksgiving. And it made me realize how thankful I am for this dynamic.

Phillip and I are blessed with lots of extended family. And I do love them and somewhat like them for the most part. Between us we still have five grandparents living, along with numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, and so on. We have parents, step-parents, brothers and a niece and a nephew.

Relationships with our extended family have always been important to us. The majority of our family vacations are either with family or to see family that live in various parts across the country. I'm so glad that our children have gotten the opportunities to meet and build relationships with so many of our family members over the years.

However, not every family is perfect...certainly not ours. And there is nothing like the holidays to shine a bright light on family dysfunction. On my side it's the fallout from a bitter divorce. On Phillip's side it's one family member who raises a lot of drama and changes the 'rules' every year. I'm a people pleaser. Phillip's pretty laid back. So for the most part we just go along with everybody else, bending and shifting at their whims and doing our best to keep the conflict down and keep things peaceful.

For the most part things have worked themselves into annual traditions for the majority of the holidays. But for some reason, Thanksgiving has always been a mess. Every year as November roles around the tension begins. This person doesn't want to host anymore. This person doesn't want to travel so far. This person wants to invite outside family. This person doesn't. And so on.  Every year, I try. Hosting. Not hosting. Doing anything and everything to accommodate so we can have a happy, stress-free holiday. But no matter what, it seems like it's never enough and somebody isn't happy.

This year as the rumblings started, Phillip decided we were done with the drama. We were going to start our own tradition and give our kids a stress-free Thanksgiving to remember and stay home. Unfortunately our choice this year wasn't exactly popular with some family members, but Phillip said not to worry and let him deal with it. So I did and he did and all went well. We had a big family breakfast before vegging out on the couch to watch the parade. Afterwards we put up the Christmas tree followed by a movie while the turkey finished cooking. We had all the favorites -- turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberries, pumpkin pie followed by an evening of playing board games and card games. It was a perfect day.

This morning my oldest remarked it was the best thanksgiving ever and could we do it again that way next year. Her younger sister seconded her request. It warmed my heart to know how much they enjoyed spending the day as just the four of us.

There is no doubt that this dynamic has brought Phillip and I closer. But it's also brought us closer as a family and helped us realign our priorities and time. It's sharpened our communication skills. Because of this our kids seem happier than they were a few years ago. There is less drama and more smiles and lots and lots of talking. They share things with me that I would've never dreamed talking to my parents about.

Not too long ago our oldest brought a smile to my face that when she told me that she no longer worries about her parents are ever divorcing like she used to and she hopes to have a marriage like ours some day. Now I didn't smile because I hoped she really had a marriage exactly like ours someday. Our kids don't know about our dynamic and there are no plans for them to ever know. Our kids aren't seeing the bruises or rules or toys or their mother tied up while their father spanks her. No...all they see is the love and respect this dynamic has brought and that's why I smiled.

So this week I've found myself very thankful for what this dynamic has done in our home. Despite the sicknesses over this past year and the bad days and the 'off' days and steps backwards. Despite how hard it can sometimes seem. But it's all worth it and I am so very very thankful. Thankful for the deepening bond between Phillip and I. And especially thankful for how it's bringing our little family closer together.  


  1. "Our kids don't know about our dynamic and there are no plans for them to ever know. Our kids aren't seeing the bruises or rules or toys or their mother tied up while their father spanks her. No...all they see is the love and respect this dynamic has brought and that's why I smiled."

    THIS is specifically how I feel about us and what our children "see". What they do see is the resulting love and respect that we have for each other. LOVE love LOVE this post Aurora, so very much!!

    You, Phillip and your girls deserve a stress-free family Thanksgiving! So happy you were able to have it!

  2. This made me smile Aurora. I'm so glad you avoided all the Thanksgiving holiday drama and had a wonderful, stress free day as a family. It sounded perfect :) those words from your daughter say it all. They see the respect and harmony between their parents.


  3. I'm glad you had a lovely Thanksgiving, you both deserve it. It is always a shame when family gatherings turn into an unwanted drama.

  4. yay! so glad you had a lovely time, what a great idea from Phillip!

  5. Way to go for forgoing all the "family drama" and starting your own new tradition. My family doesn't even do thanksgiving anymore. It's really not that big of a deal anymore. Because we celebrate thanksgiving in October in Canada, it use to be our "closing the cottage for the season" thanksgiving weekend but that stopped about 5 years ago now. Nope, it's definately not a thing for me. This year I was thankful though cuz I got to spend my "October long weekend" in Texas with myWolf.
    Your Thanksgiving sounds divine .. for everybody!

  6. What a wonderful heartwarming post.

  7. One good thing about living 1300 from my families is no crazy holiday's. I miss them, but having relaxing days, rather than driving here and there to see everyone, is so much better. :)

    Leigh is right, this was very heartwarming.

    Hope you're doing well!