Matt has three older brothers - one lives in Arizona, one in San Diego and another in New Mexico. Chris and Wendy who live in New Mexico hosted Thanksgiving this year, so this past Tuesday the kids and I drove to Arizona to meet up with Matt's parents, his brother Jeff and his new girlfriend LaRay (his new, wonderful, normal, down-to-earth girlfriend - hurray!!), and Jeff's boys Jeffrey and Michael. We spent the night in AZ and then we all took off for New Mexico on Wednesday.
SO happy to report that Jacob did not puke while driving through the mountains!! In fact, the kids were absolutely awesome during all the driving - about eight hours to AZ, eight or nine to NM, eight coming back to AZ and nine from AZ to CA on Sunday (due to traffic). I have to say, they do way better for long stretches in the van than a flight, and it's easier for me, too. They are much more comfortable in their own seats, and will actually sleep a little. We can bring as many snacks and drinks as we want, pack whatever and however is convenient for us (without having to adhere to FAA guidelines), take potty breaks when we want and stretch our legs, stop for breakfast, listen to the DVD player as loud as they want and not have to worry about disturbing passengers with that or any crying/whining that might happen... Not to mention some gorgeous scenery and lots of trains on the way. It really was a great traveling experience!
Of course, it was wonderful to spend Thanksgiving with Matt's family. As much as I really miss our traditional Thanksgiving meal with his aunts, uncles and cousins back east, it's just so hard to sit at that table without Matt next to me. It was hard to be with his family on the west coast not having him there, either, but in a way, he was. There's a little bit of Matt in each of his family members, and for the most part, it's comforting to be around them. I know my kids felt it, too.
They have this cool tradition of cooking the turkey in a pit in the ground - sooo good. Stuffed myself like a turkey the whole time I was out there. That's one of the things about Matt's family that I have to say I really, really love - guaranteed awesome food and a fully belly! For me, good food + full belly (and maybe some beer) = happy. Can't beat the company, either - they are so much fun.
I'm thankful I'm a part of his family, and that they still consider me as much a part of them as they did when Matt was alive. I'm also happy that I'm within driving distance to them, too.
I'm very blessed to have the family and friends in my life that I have. If it wasn't for my good friends Heidi and Angela who flew in for a visit a few weekends ago, I don't know if I'd have made it through that one year anniversary.
I do have so much to be thankful for, and I'm glad I am able to see that instead of only what I lost. I'm also happy that November is OVER!!