Nate Thomas excused himself from the table and made his way to the bathroom. What had his mother signed them up for this year? Once in the bathroom, Nate immediately turned on the faucet and splashed his face with cold water. Family was great, Nate decided, technology was great – heck, the holidays were great; but, family, technology, and the holidays together was a dumpster fire in the making!
It had started three weeks ago after the weekly family dinner. His older brother, Oliver, was at home due to college closings for the semester, and his older sister, Belle, was over from her apartment downtown. Circumstances in which his mother decided were perfect for presenting her Thanksgiving plans. “I think we should have a Thanksgiving zoom in lieu of our usual family dinner this year.”
Nate heard Oliver snort as he shared a glance with Belle, his younger siblings blissfully oblivious to everything except their conversation with Dad about which Avenger would win in ‘hide and seek’. Belle took a sip of her drink as Nate quipped, “It’s good that the Thanksgiving is coming up, because that’s a pie in the sky idea right there.” He laughed as he felt his older brother playfully slap him upside the head as Belle groaned.
“I thought those kinds of jokes were limited to dads only.” she said, but laughed nonetheless. Only their mother’s silence brought a sober note to their amusement.
“Wait, you were serious?” Oliver asked, as all three siblings turned back to their mother.
“Well, yes.” Their mother replied in her lawyerly, let’s-get-down-to-business tone. “Any other year, we’d be having the family over. I think this year, more than any other year, it’s important to make family a priority – but safely.”
Nate had to give it to his mother: she really knew how to make an appealing case. It was no wonder she, as District Attorney, and Prosecutor Fleming were often at odds. Even Oliver, who had looked incredulous before she spoke, was beginning to come around to it. “I think it’s a great idea, Maggie.” their dad said, finally breaking away from Ben and Parker’s conversation.
“Of course you do,” Belle rolled her eyes.
“Careful, Isabella.” their dad replied giving her a playfully scolding look. “I might just put you in charge of the kiddie table zoom.”
“Ooh, in charge of the ones that actually know how to use technology… interesting punishment.” Nate nearly choked on his drink with that quip before his mother called the looming war of words to a halt.
“We’ll discuss who’s in charge of what later – who wants dessert?”
After dessert, Parker and Ben rushed off to finish their homework in order to secure video game time before bed and the rest of the family retired to the living room – unless, of course, thought Nate, you didn’t consider “retire” to mean “move to the next room to plot logistics for the upcoming holiday.”
A glass of wine in one hand and a pen in the other, his mom’s planner was open on her lap. “Alright, today’s the 3rd, so we have approximately 23 days until Thanksgiving. In that time we need to invite our usual guests, make sure they all know how to use the technology, set up the meeting -“
“Upgrade our Zoom account so our meeting can last more than 40 minutes.” Nate added in, remembering a recent zoom when his meeting was shut down after the aforementioned time allotment passed whether he was done talking or not.
His mom pointed at him, “Good idea, I’ll do that this weekend.” she said before scribbling a note in her planner.
“Nerd.” Belle teased playfully and Nate affected hurt.
“Alright, upgrade Zoom,” his mother started up again before Nate’s attention was drawn away from the conversation as Ben brought his math homework asking for help. While he wanted to hear what his mother was saying, he had to agree with the third-grader, fractions did suck, so he put on his math teacher hat instead.
Halfway into his explanation, Nate heard his father call his name, “Nate, you can help with that, right?”
Normally Nate knew better than to agree to something before he heard just what exactly he was agreeing to, yet between the fact that he was about knee-deep in fraction-land and the fact that he just wanted to be done with planning a Thanksgiving dinner Zoom, Nate replied, “Sure, yeah. Whatever you need.” They can’t want more from me than an errand-runner, right? Oliver’s way more tech savvy than I am and Belle’s the baking expert in the family. Nate reasoned to himself before returning to the math homework.
“Perfect, so Nate will be in charge of inviting the family and setting up the laptops. Oliver, can I put you in charge of setting the table and making sure Panda’s got food in your room the night of?”