When we got married, we both had children – all boys. He had two boys, ages 3 and 4, and I had a son who was only two weeks younger than his oldest. You would think that having three boys the same age would be great, and it was, for the most part. However, when it came to holidays, it can make for a mess when you’re trying to prepare a huge family dinner. Our first Thanksgiving as a family found both sides of the family coming to our new home and I was already stressing out trying to get everything done. While I was preparing the turkey, I had one hand full of butter that I was rubbing the turkey down with and the boys were running at break-neck speed through the kitchen. I caught myself yelling at them to stop over and over, until one of them stopped (bringing the others to a full halt as well) to ask what I was doing.
“I’m spanking the turkey so it’ll be good while it’s in the oven,” I replied, and then added “and you guys are next!”
Three little faces stared from me to the turkey and back again, and then huge smiled spread across those little faces. Our youngest, grinned the biggest, and said “Can we spank it?” It caught me off guard, but I replied “Sure! Why not?” And one by one, the boys lined up to ‘spank’ the turkey.
Their laughter at this odd, yet fun, act was enough to turn my whole day around and to cut all that stress off my shoulders. When Dad came in to see what was going on, they made him get in on the action too. In just a few moments, it transformed our stressful day into a fun, family event.
Even now, almost ten years later, this is a tradition that my now teenage boys enjoy still. They taught our daughter how to ‘spank’ the turkey as well, something that she looks forward to as much as they do. While it’s a great tradition, even if it is an odd one, I don’t think that the boys will ever realize how much that small act means to me as a mother and how it transformed our first Thanksgiving together into something so much more.