Thanksgivikuh was quite literally a once in a lifetime or a once in a millennium opportunity and it ended up being even more so for me and my family.
About 6 months ago, my brother-in-law started his fellowship in NYC (in breast pathology -- his mom would be so super proud and so are the rest of us. Don't think I haven't already bugged him about my personal agenda). So, my sister-in-law and my two nieces are living a very different life for a year and we are tagging along for as much as we can, seeing the sites and doing the tourist thing.
We've been to the city more in 6 months than ever before, despite our proclamation that we'd never take a toddler there again, and we decided that we were all in for Thanksgiving and the parade and even the Rockettes. This was before I knew about the awesome mash-up to come. (Give me a break, I'm only half Jewish!)
The Tuesday before Turkey Day, I was stressing over work and whether to take off the day before the holiday when I came home at lunch to find my husband perusing his Marriott Rewards site.
"I figured I'd see what hotels were on the parade route," he says casually. You know, like the Ritz Carlton....
I laughed but after 5 min of discussion, I was all in. He travels a decent amount for work and a major perk of handling two toddlers solo a couple nights a week is exactly this. It's free honeymoons and rooms at the Ritz in NYC. So we booked it. We figured even if we didn't have a view of the parade, we had a bathroom for two 3 year olds and a warm place for the baby.
I was so shocked to walk into the room the next day and see a view of the very corner that the parade would turn down. And an amazing bathroom the obvious measurement of any hotel. It was honestly so perfect. That night, we braved the cold and the most to see the balloons being blown up, to see the girls' faces light up and scream, "Hello Kitty!!!!" They looked so tiny next to the balloons, which are so so so much bigger than they look on our tv.
I could have stopped there and been totally satisfied with the trip, but Thanksgiving Day, we found out that the hotel had the whole front of the building blocked off. We had easy in and out access and felt so VIP. Our girls were able to wave at the Hello Kitty balloon and then head inside to see Buzz Lightyear's inscription in his foot. They have no idea how lucky they are, but it was amazing to watch them shrieking and loving every last second.
We all went back to our family's apartment and had a squished, catered thanksgiving dinner that was fun, delicious and comfortable.
But it wasn't Thanksgivikuh. Earlier that week, I had commented on a blog post from MommyShorts and Little Miss Party Planner where they had an awesome Thanksgivikuh spread. And I won a Thanksgivikuh in a box!! Unfortunately, it arrived the day we left for NYC (coincidentally, both bloggers are based in the city. I could have saved them some postage!).
So, my family did our Thanksgivikuh a little late. And thanks to LMP, it was beautiful and delicious. I highly recommend sweet potato latkes!
For me, celebrating holidays like Hannukah and Passover isn't entirely about religion because we weren't raised in the faith. They are about community and, most of all, family. And I've learned even more about the Jewish community from my BRCA mutation.
I had the opportunity to venture into the outskirts of Philly a few weeks ago and finally sit down and talk to some members of FORCE. The event was at a synagogue and they were showing a documentary called In the Family in order to raise awareness in the Jewish community about the prevalence of the BRCA mutations. And just being in the synagogue reinforced the community, the family that is central to the Jewish faith. Talking to these women, even having the chance to see "foobs" in real life, made me feel a part of that community.
And one of the pillars of Judaism is education and continued learning. So I am grateful that FORCE and other organizations that focus on HBOC do have a bit of (or a lot of) Jewish in their roots because they encourage that learning and thirst for knowledge, that need to educate oneself and choose the best path in life.
Thanksgivikuh was a once in a lifetime kind of day (or week) for me. It was a live like you are dying kind of moment and a chance to recognize something that will always be a part if me, for better or worse.