The last week we spent in Florida for the Thanksgiving […]
The last week we spent in Florida for the Thanksgiving holiday was spectacular. The weather was really lovely, and our time was so well-spent with friends and family. Both Jesse’s family and mine live in Florida, so we’ve split our time with them during our visits over the last couple of years.
We spent the first half of the week with my side of the family. It was the first time some of my extended family members would meet Akira … and he did not disappoint! He smiled and cooed at them as he was passed around from one relative to the next. My uncle, a Spaniard, introduced him to Spanish as Akira listened intently and tried to mimic the sounds. My aunt played with his hands and sang him a Spanish children’s song. And, of course, my parents adoringly took their grandson in their arms at any chance they had.
While in Tampa visiting my family, we also ventured out to a beer garden one afternoon and got to hang out with old friends of mine. The best part about that? Seeing that we all suddenly have children! It was baby-central that day, and my heart swelled. Observing some of my best friends in their newfound roles as parents was such an awesome thing to witness. We hung out like nothing had ever changed, despite the very obvious fact that everything had changed in our lives—and for the better.
We left Tampa a couple of days later to go to a small town in Central Florida, just outside of Orlando, called Eustis. This is where Jesse’s parents live and is the site of the holiday festivities. Not only do we celebrate Thanksgiving in the traditional sense—with a turkey (or three), gravy, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, etc.—we also celebrate an annual Italian Night feast the following evening. Fresh homemade pasta, sauce, meatballs (oh, the meatballs!), braciole and bottles upon bottles of wine are only the beginning. There’s a lot of dancing, the sounds of children laughing and playing, storytelling and … did I mention the wine?
Both Akira and Anaïs had so much fun with their cousins. They also (miraculously) both napped when they needed to and were happy and full of smiles during the week. With so many relatives in tow, Jesse and I were able to relax and really enjoy ourselves while surrounded by the people we love.
Every year, I look forward to our week-long stint in Florida. And every year, I notice the littles growing up and the grown-ups sitting back and looking so pleased with how their children have turned out. As I get older, I know that I will look at my kids with that same feeling and with that same glimmer in my eyes that will remind me of just how lucky we are to have so much love in our lives. This year’s Thanksgiving weekend was probably my most favorite yet. In the famous words of Jesse’s grandmother, “A good time was had by all.”