Never let your kids name the lobsters.

My hubby and I live in northern California. One son attends college in Chicago and another in Maryland. This is our first year living at home without them and I write this blog about empty nesting because I find it therapeutic. It helps me put things in perspective and deal with the roller coaster of emotions I feel on a daily basis. My mind can definitely turn a little “Dr. Jekyll and Hydey”. For instance I think to myself:

I’m glad our sons are so independent.
I’m sad our sons aren’t living at home.
Woo hoo! The house is not taken over by backpacks and smelly sneakers.
Boo hoo! Our home has an unlived in, museum quality feel about it.
Damn! The grocery bill has actually decreased tenfold.
Damn! Who is going to eat all this kale?

These thoughts and emotions come and go and my achiness over this empty nest business seems workable. But then- just when you think it is going to be o.k. because you will see them soon…our sons inform us that they want to join their family/friends on the East Coast for the Thanksgiving holiday. Hmmm. How do I feel about this?

An Empty Nest Thanksgiving
My kids are a no show for Turkey Day.
They are enjoying time spent from us, far away.
My hubby and I will be two short when we dine,
But I plan to ignore that with lots of fine wine.
So we’ll have a good Thanksgiving anyway.


Who am I kidding? I think it will, in fact, be miserable without them. I am going to be one unhappy cranberry during this holiday.

What do you call an unhappy cranberry? Wait, wait, wait for it….a blueberry! 😦

Such a sad little joke. I know. I’m just keeping it real. But wait, there must be a substantially sound reason why they don’t want to come home. If I can figure it out maybe I can still guilt them into coming home!   Let’s see…what could we have done to them that was so terrible that they prefer to spend this Thanksgiving away?

Most of the memories looking back on Thanksgivings gone by are rather positive.  Oh, when they were little, I remember when we raked massive piles of leaves and let them hide in the colorful heaps and pop up to surprise the unassuming passer-by. These fun times were only spoiled by the occasional hidden cat turd found stuck to one of the boy’s shoes or unfortunate tacky fleece sweatshirt. There was that one time we went on a friendly neighborhood hike in the Santa Cruz mountains to (what my hubby likes to claim) “earn our Thanksgiving dinner”. It started out as a great hike on a sunny day, that ended up rather badly with a mutiny of soldier walkers that proclaimed they would hike no more as it was getting dark, we had run out of supplies and a persistent vulture hovered over us to monitor our breaths per minute…Even so, most of the memories of Thanksgiving Day are very happy ones that include having our family or the company of good friends around a table with a feast fit for a king and saying grace to thank God for the abundance of food, friendship and love found at the table.  Our bellies and souls were fed to the brim with the goodness that comes from gathering together…

Granted, although most of the memories looking back over the years are rather positive, there is one that comes to mind that may have been the scar-inducer…But could they really still remember and hold it against us? Do I dare to share? I must, I must…

So there was one Thanksgiving I was determined to make more gourmet. I decided it was time for a more cultured meal and introduce the boys to my personal favorite, Maine Lobster.  Turkey is fabulous but there is a point when even the good stuff gets repetitive…right? Well my family didn’t necessarily agree with me either, dear reader. But I was stubborn and bulldozed ahead with my plans to make a more epicurean Thanksgiving experience.  I went to a local seafood market where they had live Main lobsters bathing in a tank, succulent claws a-waving …”Pick me! Pick me!” So I did. Four heavy lobsters with bulky meat laden claws came home with me.  The boys were pretty young, maybe 6 and 8 years old.  They were intrigued by the antennae-waving orange crustaceans… As my hubby and I were busy boiling the water and clarifying the butter we let the boys play with the lobsters.  After all, their claws had rubber bands around them as a safety pre-caution and what could go wrong? Nothing did. At first.

The boys each picked one lobster to play with. There were lobster races on the kitchen floor.  Lobster wrestle-mania in a ring of Idaho potatoes (thankfully, not yet washed and peeled).  They chased each other with their lobsters making puttering airplane noises pretending their orange fellas could fly.  All was well with the world, and my delectable fancy Thanksgiving dinner was just moments away.

Back then, Pokémon was very popular and my hubby and I were very familiar with the various characters.  The main one being Pikachu. So when we heard one kid exclaim,”Pika, Pika is better than your stupid Chu.”we both looked at each other and realized our gargantuan mistake. We didn’t bother to notice the lobsters went from being new found toys to actual named pets! Crap!  So even though I quickly shooed the boys outside to plays, sans Pika and Chu, it was too late. The damage was so very done. After they came back inside to wash their hands and change, upon their return they spied with big horrified eyes, the cooked lobsters displayed on a bed of aromatic dill.  Not the new shiny metal lobster crackers nor bubbling glasses of sparkling cider, nor fresh rolls from the oven could detract from their despair at seeing their lobsters, lifeless and still.  Yup, their Pika and Chu were goners.  And although my husband and I tried to show them the fun of cracking open a claw, they still weren’t buying it.  Needless to say the boys ate everything but the lobster and to this day are not fond of eating it.  Oh well.  C’est la vie…But although the dinner was a bit tainted  we all managed to top off the evening with a fabulous creme brulee and our traditional viewing of Charlie Brown’s Thanksgiving.

So there it is.  Perhaps the boys are keeping away during the Thanksgiving holiday because of the unfortunate events of the past.  O.k. I know that is ridiculous and that is not the reason they won’t be sitting at the table with us this Thanksgiving.  My sons are now grown (well almost). They are chickens that have flown the coop. And given their new found state of independence and freedom, they are not so quick to automatically return…  Unless it’s the Christmas holiday.  Then they will surely be back home. Yipee!…  At least while they aren’t married with families of their own.  Good Grief! Don’t go there! What are you crazy?   Time to stop this train of thought and focus on next month’s holiday menu.  Perhaps we could jazz it up with a Christmas goose this year?  🙂






Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s