I get to celebrate Thanksgiving with my children every other year. This is my other year and they’ll be with their father. Which means that they will be with him from Tuesday after school until next Monday when they go back to school. So for this Thanksgiving, I did what I always do when they are gone for an extended period of time: I made plans. Having my own events to look forward to helps me deal with missing them, especially on such a traditional family-oriented holiday like Thanksgiving.

I’m leaving Wednesday morning on the local commuter rail to take the 2 hour ride south to my mom’s house. She’ll pick me up at the station and, because my birthday is in a week and a half, she’ll take me shopping and out to lunch. At the ripe old age of almost 44, I don’t think I’ll ever be too old for this. And it’s a special time for me to hang out one on one with my mom. No husband, no brother, no kids. No sharing! My (step)father will be there but that’s different. No rivalry and more attention for me, at least until my husband gets there! Thursday morning, we’ll get up and go for a power walk. We’ll do a little cooking for the afternoon meal. And my husband will drive down with a turkey or two in the cooler and some stuffing.

In the afternoon, we’ll head over to the house of our friends who are family, who we’ve been spending Thanksgiving with since I don’t even know when. We’ll drink some really good red wine, make a few toasts, and give thanks for loved ones and good health. And remember those who couldn’t be with us. Maybe, if the mood strikes or if enough wine is consumed, we’ll sing a little karaoke. I’ll try not to pull multiple muscles in my neck like my AC and I did a few years ago swinging our heads around, doing a I-don’t-know-who’s version of dirty dancing. (My neck required multiple doses of Advil and a heating pad).

Friday morning, we’ll get up. My parents, my husband and I. We’ll go for a nice long power walk, again. Try to get rid of the excess calories from eating too many slices of AC’s pecan pie. Pack up, say goodbye to my parents and head off to the Port to meet up with 8 of our closest friends and hop aboard what has the makings to be one of the most fun cruises of my life. A Thursday night that starts on Friday and lasts the whole weekend. One that includes late night dancing, the freshest conch salad around and high alcohol content Kalik Gold.

My life is good. Better than good. I’ve got my kids, my husband, my family and friends. I’m healthy, 8 pounds lighter than I was 6 weeks ago. My birthday is coming up. I get to see my brother and his family in a month. They’re all actually coming to stay at my house for a few days. My best Guinea friend is coming to town soon. I have most of my Hannukah shopping done. Not a care in the world. And an abundance of things to give thanks for.

Happy Thanksgiving!