I called to make our first ever Thanksgiving dinner reservation at. a. restaurant.

I’m pretty sure this is illegal in some families and states.

How many in your party?

As I explained that three of our diners were small and a booth would be great because they just fall through/off chairs, the voice on the other end began detailing booths and tables and how many could fit where as if he had arranged every space himself.

Something between his words made me ask if he was the owner and before he could finish saying yes my story came tumbling out.

We came there five years ago on Thanksgiving and now we are coming back.

I explained that day when we were sitting in the NICU and decided we couldn’t stomach one more night of hospital cafeteria food, especially not on Thanksgiving.

We gave ourselves permission to leave our incubator vigil in search of a decent meal and swore off every brightly lit fast food sign we passed.

I didn’t pause to ask if he even wanted to hear more or to take a breath as I explained that their restaurant was the first decent one we found after driving for ages. We were bringing our kids back this year to start a new tradition.

They have grown big enough to understand the story themselves.

What I left out was how sharply I still remember that evening, my husband and I struggling to be grateful. I looked down most of the meal, hoping tears would slide down my cheek instead of drop directly to my plate. Mark volleyed between trying to make me smile and marveling over the fact that we were eating real food.

I didn’t tell him that when we visit his restaurant on Thanksgiving, my children will most likely spill the salt or the sugar or please not a whole beverage and at least one of them will crawl under the table while the other dips a sleeve in gravy and talks way too loud. My husband and I will look at each other as we always do, but for once we won’t wonder what in the world we were thinking taking these hooligans to such a nice place.

We know exactly why they’re here.

holding preemies

Thanksgiving 2005

Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours.

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  1. What a beautiful tradition to start and hold onto. It sounds perfect, and this is by far the best Thanksgiving post I’ve seen. Thanks for being so real and telling it how it really is!
    Meredith recently posted..WORST Pregnant Person Ever

  2. I think that is a great new tradition. And, as I look at my house, still wrecked from hosting the big day, I think it is a very smart new tradition! Hope you had a lovely day! As lovely as it could be…
    Alexa (katbiggie) recently posted..Day 17

  3. —every post I read is about being thankful. I’m almost ashamed to say I’m finding it difficult to be thankful without my sister by my side…

    Thinking of you. Glad you went out for dinner!

    My Inner Chick recently posted..Utterly Random & Wickedly Cool

    • I know that place too well. This is the first year I actually felt like I could be thankful and am (so far) not dreading Christmas. I will be thinking of you and hoping you can find some moments of peace. xo

  4. What a sweet new tradition. I hope you all enjoyed your Thanksgiving.
    Rach (DonutsMama) recently posted..A Thanksgiving Thank You

  5. That is the sweetest Thanksgiving story I’ve ever heard.
    Jennifer recently posted..Black Friday

    • Thanks, we had such an amazing time this year and they really did spill the salt and drop things under the table and on and on and on but it was perfect.

  6. no cooking and no clean up?! fabulous…
    but seriously? what a wonderful, meaningful tradition for your family….
    Not a Perfect Mom recently posted..Thankful For Underwear

  7. I love your new Thanksgiving tradition. I struggle with Thanksgiving (and most holidays) because nothing feels quite right after your child / children have died. I feel guilty but especially since Sawyer died (most likely b/c he was born the week before Thanksgiving and died Christmas night) I pretty much hate the holidays and wish I could wake up in mid January. I try really hard to smile through the holidays but sometimes I crack.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you all and thank you for sharing with us. xoxo
    Lanie recently posted..Thankful 2012

  8. What a beautiful tradition this will be for your family. How did the children like it?
    Ginger Kay recently posted..Intuitive reasoning at Walmart, or Is He a Basset Hound?

  9. I hope you enjoyed every minute of that dinner! Hugs.
    Kathy at kissing the frog recently posted..Leave the Baby, Take the Pie

  10. It’s a delicate balance, isn’t it, to honor the past and yet not let it detract from our present joys. At least, that’s the place I find myself in today, as well.

    Sending you so many good thoughts on this Thanksgiving. Enjoy every messy moment of dinner. I raise my glass to you.
    Niksmom recently posted..A Month of Gratitude – Day Fourteen: Little Big Things

  11. This is going to be a beautiful and amazing tradition!
    Barbara recently posted..Because when you make a list…

  12. And no clean up afterwards.
    Love you and hope that you and your beautiful family have a wonderful ‘Merican Thanksgiving.
    Kimberly recently posted..When Your Husband Is A Half Breed

  13. I think it’s a beautiful tradition to start.
    Happy Thanksgiving to your wonderful family. Enjoy the crawling and the gravy dipping and everything else. <3
    Alysia recently posted..Rock The Vote for SenseAbility Gym

  14. Happy Thanksgiving to your sweet family. And while I know that there’s been pain and loss and sadness and grief, I’m thankful for your story, and for the friend I’ve made who has lived it.
    Mary Lauren recently posted..Beyond Mommy Friends: How to Find Your Professional Tribe

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