By Susan M.

I think that it’s safe to say that where there is a holiday, and where there is extended family, there will be chaos. And something worthy of laughter. So Happy Holiday Season, y’all, sit back and enjoy our Thanksgiving – the holiday that just kept giving, and giving, and giving.

We begin our saga with the fact that I agreed under some duress to fly 800 miles north for the holiday. And stay in a house that would temporarily contain 11 children. Under the age of 10. Including two infants. The faint of heart should just go lie down now with a cold rag. The rest of you? Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Dear Husband is the oldest of 4. The rest of the 4 live in a large ring around Boston, in houses we rarely frequent. So it came as no surprise to me that we would be required to drive around Boston to visit all of the houses. Let me state for the novice that driving around Boston is akin to walking through quicksand. It looks like it won’t take that long to get across, but before you know it, you’re almost in Canada, and nowhere near your actual destination. Throw the year’s first snow into the mix, and you might as well just walk your 45 miles and be done with it. I finish Day 2 by stating that 5 boys under 7 in 400 square feet is 5 boys too many. (For that matter, 5 of anything in a small space is probably too much. But you get the idea.)

Day 3 brought puking by two of my three children, one of whom did so spectacularly on the kitchen floor…. just as lunch was being set out. It was the Alberta Clipper of viruses, apparently, quick but powerful, so we spent the day in solitary with an abundance of disinfectant. Child Number 3, not to be outdone by his siblings, joined the sick parade at 3am on Thursday. This did, however, get me confined to the infirmary for the better part of Day 3, which was indeed a blessing, seeing that 11 children, 4 sets of parents and my in-laws were present nearby.

I digress here to mention that 1) the host family has a large dog, and 2) three of my nephews are paralyzed with fear at the mere sight of a dog. As in, they are standing on counter tops screaming as only a 2 year old can. Often, as in every time they caught sight of the dog. Even when the dog was crated. For two straight days.

Ah, Day 4, Thanksgiving itself. Having battled through the puke, Day 4 dawned with a rare break in the New England weather, allowing for the above-mentioned 5 boys to go outside with the remaining 3 cousins, leaving the 2 infants and one cranky tween, who was “so bored I could die.” Day 4 also brought the annual dining conundrum, with dinner to be somehow scheduled with 4 competing nap schedules, only one small child’s table, potatoes that “looked funny”, and not nearly enough forks.

But the kids were grateful for all things, ranging from “my mommy” to “my new video game controller”, the food was great, and the dog-screaming lessened to mere whimpers by the end of Day 4. (Or I became hard of hearing, I’m not sure which.)

Day 5 was travel day, highlighted quickly by my niece’s sore throat. And cough. Guess what our parting gift was? (Bonus points if you too are currently buying stock in NyQuil.)

All in all, the perfect Thanksgiving holiday. Hope yours was just as wonderful!