I’m sitting here watching the Thanksgiving Day parade and it’s the commercials that have me in tears. They really do lay it on around the holidays, don’t they? You’d think I was pregnant again.
There’s the Justin Beiber for Macy’s one that’s really cute where the Macy’s employees warn him not to do his wink-nod-smile routine at the customers lest they faint in admiration.
And I think, wow, what if one day Noah turns out to be Justin Beiber, and he’s so cute he makes people swoon with his wink-nod-smile? And What if, like Justin Beiber, he’s so sweet that he thanks his mom at every turn for helping him turn out to be such a big charmer? Then I’d get thanked for helping my son become rich and famous and he’d take care of me in my old age because he was so grateful! And also I’d get to be on TV because my son thanks me so much!
Then there’s the American Girl Doll commercial where the girl plays dress up and with the help of the American Girl doll she actually is able to be more herself.
And the commercial is meaningful because the girl is a little chubby and yet she feels comfortable enough to be herself because the American Girl doll is so confident in herself! And I think of Katya and how I really hope she feels confident enough to be herself, and Lola too of course. And I sit back and watch Katya as she right now is using Mat’s iPhone to video herself playing with her American Girl dolls because she saw on YouTube some girls videoing themselves playing with their American Girl dolls and Katya wants to be famous and have other girls view her video where she plays with her dolls. I can’t blame her for wanting to be famous because I want to be on TV with my Justin Beiber-like son and Katya really is turning into me. And I sigh as a tear rolls down my face.
The next one was American Airlines where the young woman in her military fatigues gets to board the plane early and as she does the old man, presumably a veteran, salutes her.
And you may wonder how I can relate this commercial to my own life seeing as how the woman is young and black and in the military and I am none of those things, nor am I an elderly white male veteran, nor have I ever been allowed to board a plane early because someone felt I was special. But I do understand showing gratitude to those in the service, and once about a year ago I was with Noah by myself on an AA flight and the older man in front of me was wearing a POW cap and I was overwhelmed as I sat there with my baby of the sacrifice that this person made so that Noah could have a good life. And I wrote on my cocktail napkin a note to this man saying basically what I just said here and wrote, please let me buy you and your wife a drink and I passed it to him. And he read it and turned to me and said thank you so much for this note! Holding up my (second-I was traveling with a young baby so shut up) glass of wine I said again please, let me buy you a drink, and he said no thanks, and I said really it’s no trouble, I insist, as I spilled wine on my baby and he firmly said, no, thank you, I don’t drink anymore, and after all those good feelings I immediately felt like a total and complete lush slash asshole. But then later his wife offered to help me with Noah who was fussing and I was dying to go to the bathroom and I felt again an overwhelming sense of gratitude. Maybe I should fly American Airlines more often.
But the one that gets me the most is the Folger’s commercial where the grown son knocks on the door on Christmas morning and his little sister opens the door, and she is so happy to see her big brother that she puts a bow on him and says “You’re my present this year.”
And for a minute I think that this is slightly sexual in a creepy sort of way but then I immediately push that thought out of my head and realize that she just really missed her big brother and she loves him a lot. As the camera pans to the parents looking on approvingly, like, yeah, we did a good job here with our perfect family, I get choked up because I hope we have that perfect family where instead of the siblings fighting over who got more presents from Mom and Dad and therefore is the favorite they actually look at each other lovingly and Lola thinks Noah is the best present of all.
The other part of this commercial that I like is where the son talks about coming home from West Africa and I hope that Noah someday has the balls to travel and see the world but also has the brains to always inevitably come back home to his Mama. Because we have the perfect family. Because we drink Folgers. Sigh. Tears.
I guess what I’m trying to say through the deft advertising of corporate America is that I have a lot to be thankful for today. My kids may drive me to the brink of psychosis, but they always can pull me back to the land of the sane just in time with their ridiculously cute antics as evidenced below. And for that, I consider myself truly lucky.
Almost as lucky as Justin Beiber’s mom.