Dinner Bell


Some nostalgia:

Rob and I first "met," online, in November of 2000. So we've been together for eight years now.

That first year, he had just come to meet me in person (and asked me to marry him!), and then he flew home to Missouri to have Thanksgiving with his mom and stepdad. I missed him like crazy already.

The following Thanksgiving, we were already married with our first baby, newborn Chloë. I had found our awesome turkey recipe in the Parade magazine, and we've used it ever since save one time. We were really proud of our little feast. It was just the three of us, but you would never know it because the little girl in the house napped almost the whole day in her pretty little blue dress. We were a small but very happy little family, so in love with our little life.

The next year was 2002. By then, we had moved to Guam, and I was pregnant with twins. Very emotionally pregnant. We had been invited to the squadron Thanksgiving dinner and, since all of our household goods were still in transit from Florida and we had nothing with which to cook, we decided to go. I forget what dish we made, but when we got to the destination, no one greeted me. No one told me where to put my dish. No one said hello, no one introduced themselves, no one smiled. I felt utterly snubbed and was extremely disappointed. And pissed! I put the dish down somewhere, grabbed my toddler, and headed back to the car, sobbing. Rob ran after me, and we went home.

Instead of a big Thanksgiving dinner with all the fixings, at a huge table with tons of people, we hunkered down in our base housing unit and made do. We had some chicken pieces, opened cans of corn, had bread, and that was about it. We had no table, so we sat 'round the coffee table, us balancing our plates on our knees and Chloë sitting in her small blue rocking chair at the coffee table, to eat our dinner. And I was much happier, alone with my little family.

By the following Thanksgiving, we were here, in Virginia, in our new home. Our twins had been born, and one had died, and we were now a family of four. I was an emotional and mental wreck from the loss of our little boy, but it was good to be together, good to have our turkey recipe back, good to cook ourselves a little feast.

We've grown since then, added another little girl, but most things have stayed the same. We'll never use another turkey recipe as long as we can find that one. It's always just been our nuclear family for the day. And we remain very much in love with our little life.