My empty nest is filling up today.  By tomorrow afternoon, I’ll have all my baby birds home.  I can’t wait.  Two are here already and friends are dropping by and bedrooms are a mess (see earlier post-You’ll Miss Me on Laundry Day) or I should say one is a mess.  We even have two bunnies (as in Easter not Hefner) spending the holidays with us.  I hope they eat turkey.  As I’ve been taking all this in, two random thoughts have caused me to pause.

The first thought has to do with food. I spent yesterday making special favorites and, in one instance,  remaking or restirring  one that just didn’t turn out as I had hoped. I didn’t check the expiration date on some  Chex cereal boxes in the cabinet.  The party mix I made would have been better served last Fourth of July.  I would have sworn I bought that cereal a month ago.  When the kids were living here full-time, nothing ever survived past expiration.  One day past the date on the carton and the milk was emptied as I stood in the background quietly murmuring, “Smell it first.”  Nope, not in my house.  I’m not sure what they think will happen if they eat corn from a can stamped 2010 but they don’t have to worry-not going to happen when my vigilant date checkers are present. I grew up when cans weren’t stamped.  Your mom just looked in the pantry occasionally and decided what had been there too long.  Someone was told to smell the milk if there was a question of freshness.  I never drank milk growing up, so I avoided the dreaded ‘near death by ingesting past the expiration date’ malady that my kids live in fear of. And, all you health nuts need not worry, I got all the calcium I needed from ice cream.  It never lasted long enough in our house to have to be tested for freshness. But, let’s face it, with cereal there is no excuse for this error  and most assuredly no excuse with open boxes of cereal.  It makes sense to check the dates but I’m not always as sensible as I wish to be.  I’m sure there are those who keep their cereal in Tupperware to avoid such things, but honestly, that probably isn’t going to happen in my house anytime soon.  Let’s face it, I’m not doing great at finding time to blog.  I’ve only made time now because the next job on my ‘things to do before the turkey hits the roaster’ list is to clean dog poop in the backyard.

That brings me to the second thought I would like to share.  When the kids come home, I need to get mentally prepared.  I have to stay on my ‘mommy toes’- the term I like to use in reference to a needed heightened awareness when children are afoot. An incident earlier today made it clear I was not yet prepared for the challenges at hand.  My daughter suggested I save the beloved poop cleaning job for my son, who is coming home tomorrow, because one of the dogs is his.  As she sped off  to visit her friends, it dawned on me that the other dog is hers.  Why am I in this equation at all?  How did I miss that?  I should be back to full alertness about the time they head back to their newer nests on Sunday. But honestly, I should be happy for the opportunity to do some work outside.  It’s a beautiful day and no one shows their love for me more than those two dogs.  What could be better for the soul?  We mustn’t tell them there are two rabbits temporarily living inside the house.

On the serious side, I want to make it clear, never for one moment do I not realize how blessed I am.  I have a substantial part of my family with me this holiday and I have a turkey to cook.  I hope everyone who reads this silliness gets a chuckle and I wish you all a “Happy Thanksgiving”.

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