“You know, that Fox you met when you were hypnotized was right,” Eli said the other day. “I’ve noticed that foxes are always described as sly just for looking out for themselves. It’s not fair.” 

I’ve written before about the bizarre, mind-bended conversations I’ve had with different versions of myself, giant hawks, foxes, and other visitors during my hypnotherapy sessions. This one with a mama fox came just as I was worried about a big confrontation looming at work, and the inevitable gender-based blowback I was fearing. “You think you’ve got it bad?” the fox said to me before explaining that no matter what she does, she’s always called ‘sly.’ “People are going to say what people are going to say, you just have to look out for the people who count on you,” she said. 

I was reminded of this recently when I noticed I keep misspelling “desert.” I am dyslexic so I misspell a lot of things. But I realized my memory trick for—oh, 30+ years—has been the one my first grade teacher taught me: “Dessert has two s’s because you want two desserts. Deserts are awful! You wouldn’t want more deserts!”

That teacher had never been to Palm Springs. 

Palm Springs became our Thanksgiving tradition a few years ago because post-divorce, with family flung across the U.S. or in England not celebrating Thanksgiving, we didn’t have a good one. I wanted the kids to have better memories of Thanksgiving growing up, because it’s the one holiday that is just about food and family and being together. We needed a Thanksgiving reboot.

We have the world’s best Thanksgiving tradition now. It may be one of my favorite days of the year. I wake up early and go on a long run in the desert (desssert). It’s flat and warm-but-not-too-warm and dry and there are no syringes and feces to jog around and I can just zone out with an audio book and run until I don’t feel like running anymore. Then I come home and hop in the pool with my kids. Playing, throwing them, yelling Disney trivia questions that they have to answer as they jump in from the side, pretending we’re a family of seals—all the old favorites. 

Around 1ish, we’ll towel off and head to the movie theater to see whatever the big new kids movie is. There’s always a good one. When Eli and I saw that Frozen 2 had a November release date, we clutched each others hands and said “Thanksgiving!” It’s no small amount of willpower that we’ve put off seeing it for a week. (You know that a whole intro is coming about Frozen 2, right?)

After that we’ll go to a nice white tablecloth Palm Spring restaurant to have our fancy, traditional, multi-course Thanksgiving meal that I did not cook because I was too busy running and playing in the pool and seeing movies. The rules for the kids are the same every year: “This is the one part of Thanksgiving that’s really for the adults. All we ask is you behave, eat what you want, and if you don’t get full, we’ll make you a PB&J at home.” 

We also take a little stuffed turkey named “SMS” to dinner with us and tell him it’s really tofurkey we’re eating. Here’s SMS totally buying it last year…Those serious faces can’t lie!

Later that night, we’ll jump back in the pool. It’s heaven. 

Every night between last Thanksgiving and this Thanksgiving, Eli and Evie have come up with a list of the things they love and want to dream about and then I spray them in the face with Kiehl’s cactus flower mist (aka “dream spray”) to seal in their “dream list.” Almost every night of the year, “Thanksgiving in Palm Springs” is on the list. (So much so, we bought a house there this summer. It’s on Airbnb but don’t try to rent it on Thanksgiving.) We got home late last night, and Evie groggily had to have some dream spray and start dreaming about next year already.

I guess what I’m saying is Eli and Evie will have to come up with a new memory trick for how many S’s are desert because my first grade teacher was flat wrong. My desert is way better than dessert.

Today’s new questions on Chairman Mom:

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