As I watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade last week, my remnant of personal tradition among my husband's family, with children scattered over the room declaring, "We want to watch a kids's show!", I assured them they were lucky they don't get stuck watching Mommy's and Daddy's choices very often, because when I was a girl . . . we sat on the living room floor very quietly watching whatever was on - and while the Flintstones made a regular appearance, so did M.A.S.H. and last night's video recording (you know, the kind actually taped over and over on the same VHS, none of this digital nonsense) of David Letterman, so as far as I'm concerned, my kids are living the life, entertainment-wise. So could Momma just have this one morning of the year, for crying out loud?
Nevertheless, there were the sweet moments, like when the Rockettes - the highlight of the yearly event, the part my mom would run in from the kitchen to see so that we were always watching at least that part together while the turkey took a rest from its morning preparations - donned the screen and my eldest and youngest turned Papaw's living room into their own stage. That girl kicking as high as she could and that little boy twisting in his own best version of dance. Special memories for a momma passing down her own childhood moments.
And then they announced it. Next Thursday evening would be a special live broadcast of an entirely redone Sound of Music.
To those who turn on their TV's regularly, this was probably old news. As it was, I was hit with it for the first time that morning and was already scheming how to tune the children out between the 7pm start time and their 8pm bedtime. Momma was going to need another allowance, and only a week later, to tune the television to her choice - while the kids were awake. It's a risky proposition because we all know, with three children aged five and under scurrying about, one can rarely hear her own thoughts, let alone the TV. Maybe they could go to bed early.
Either way, I spent the week reminding myself and my husband, though the hideous foil-adorned antenna had been stowed in the attic during this house-selling season of our lives, it would need to be pulled out for at least one night. I was watching that TV special - and suddenly I was having 90's flashbacks - who actually tuned in to a live TV special these days? Who doesn't simply watch them the next day, or at least with a delayed start so as to fast forward commercials? Apparently we, of the no cable, no DVR, no Netflix, even. That's who. I didn't even have a blank VHS handy. I was behind the technological times even if it had been 1993.
Then Thursday came and forecasts of ice and snow and a wintry mix of wonderland flooded the forecast and my mind. I was planning chili and Christmas movies and what dessert to prepare as a family while we snuggled in our warm nest. So, it wasn't until after the chili and after the newest VeggieTales Christmas DVD (see? sometimes we at least catch up to 2001 with our entertainment technology), as we stirred puppy chow in the kitchen and pondered what slice of holiday media to enjoy with our chocolately goodness that I declared, "It's Thursday!" "Yes it is," confirmed my confused husband. "We only have 18 minutes!" I cried, glancing at the clock.
Catching on, he dutifully, and reluctantly, hurried to the attic for that blasted antenna and, after the powdered sugar had been shaken over the snack and everyone had their bowls of Chow and cups of milk, we finished our Jesse Tree devotion just in time to tune in.
I hadn't planned to snuggle together as a family with a fire in the fireplace, all eyes on the recreated classic, but it's the way it happened - as it goes with all best memories, the kind that can't be created on purpose. And then my littlest boy started dancing to the chorus of the hills coming alive and my daughter was twirling across the floor while Maria sang of her favorite things. And there we were in that blissful moment, and I didn't care that it would keep the kids up two extra hours, or that I sometimes couldn't see because an excited three-year-old has a knack for sticking his giant noggin in front of the TV, or that the acting was sometimes sub-par, or even the question at every commercial break, "Is it coming back?" (commercials are still a little foreign to them). I didn't care because we were making memories. The same kinds of memories I have from my own childhood, of sitting around the black box as a family, watching that TV special, with the Christmas lights twinkling and the icicles forming outside.
These are the moments real life is enjoyed.