Many, Many Thanks
Pablo’s voice jolts the speaker in Boy’s classroom to life, “I’m Pablo, an 8th grader. I will now announce the winner of the raffle.” When Boy’s name is pulled out of the hat there is a cheer and he scampers down to the office to collect our 14 pound turkey. And thus, my fate has been set. I will be cooking the feast after all.
This will be a feat, seeing as my family and I are partaking in a re-enactment of tenement living. We now have seven glorious beings living in a one bedroom apartment – grandfolk from upstate and Ma from London join us to celebrate Boy’s birthday and Thanksgiving. It is an elaborate exercise in spatial awareness. Folding table makes it’s appearances at feeding time and is re-stored behind the radiator, we take turns to sit in the comfy seats and dodge the various equipment Junior seems to have attracted – most of which kindly donated. Gym starts early for babies, you’re never too young to have a psychedelic bug eyed giraffe dangling in your face. They tell me it’s something to do with motor skills but I suspect it plants a seed in a young child’s subconscious that will blossom into an insatiable search of drug induced hallucinations of animals, once they reach adolescence. We narrowly avoid breaking our necks on Junior’s bouncy chair, squeeze politely past each other in the sliver of kitchen and play musical beds (hoorah for pull outs and camp beds!) to enjoy urban camping. We must love each other very much.
As the eve of Boy’s inauguration into his sixth year on earth looms, husband and I tinker with our annual indecision on how to celebrate. We collect outrageous quotes from local party haunts (er…we said kid’s party not wedding?!) then decide that having the whole clan about him will likely be joyful enough. When his teacher invites us to class on the actual day he practically bursts at the seams. Our tribe make their entrance mid morning armed with two trays of homemade cupcakes. Riding the sugar high I lead a couple of British group games, realising half way through Wink Murder that the whole premise is probably a little inappropriate for New York City first graders and a birthday party at that. Then we try our hands at Gatekeeper’s Keys, which involves players tip toeing in front of a blindfolded gatekeeper to steal their keys unheard. I catch husband muttering to teacher that the Brits have an unhealthy obsession with intrigue and hidden truths that seems to permeate even the most innocent of games.
Ma and I then walk off birthday excesses, observing the signs in the northern section of Central Park to partake only in “Passive Recreation”. Strolling around the Jackie Kennedy reservoir we take in the glimmering top of the Chrysler and Empire State building amongst the skyline beyond the water, then clock a group of ducks and geese resting in a perfect line across the entire width of the reservoir – no doubt celebrating that it’s still the turkey that is sacrificed for Thanks.
Plenty of thanks to be uttered in this household. For the chance to play house in Manhattan, to be surrounded by family, to be entertained by two special young male beings whose smiles light up their faces with love, light and unbridled joy, and who will always make their soppy parents deeply proud. And deeply thankful.
Sara Alexander and her husband Cory English (formerly of Walworth NY) are actors, who met in the London acting community. They live in London, with their two children, but are currently living in New York, while Cory performs in the Broadway show “Chicago”.