This was my first year to cook a Thanksgiving dinner for my family. Previous Thanksgivings were spent at my parent’s home along with my brother and his family, and one or both of my precious grandmothers.
This is my mother’s obsession. She loves to decorate for the holidays and her table is among the finest with all the tableware, crystal and even golden chargers for the dinner plates. She has three or four different sets of china and makes her choice well ahead of time. The last few years she has suffered with Diabetic Retinopathy. I’m not sure if she has enjoyed her fine display as much as we have.
There is nothing to compare to the meal itself: Turkey, ham, her special home made cornbread dressing, giblet gravy, turkey gravy, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob, green beans, broccoli and cheese casserole, potato casserole, sweet potato casserole. . .and seven to ten different desserts. I struggle between pumpkin pie and Mississipi mud pie, so I have a bit of both.
None of that for me and my familiy this year. We’re in Oregon now—a long way from Texas. Dan’s aunt and uncle invited us along with their children last year. It’s always fun to celebrate with many people.
But this year, we were all to ourselves. At first, I was afraid because not only do I have to cook that big meal, I have to make it special—all of the excitement that came so easily before because of being with family had to now emanate from me. I realized then how much of making the holidays special came from my mom. I’ve got big shoes to fill.
I tried hard to make memories for my children of holidays aromas, turkey, ham and pumpkin pies baking in the oven (not all at the same time). That is a problem in itself. My oven isn’t nearly large enough so I was limited. Still, it was only the few of us so no need to go crazy with the dishes. For the first time, I used my real silverware. I discovered that some pieces of what little china I had were lost or broken in several moves.
But the joy comes from within us, and I did not want to let my children down. The table turned out beautiful, according to my son, though not as fancy as my mom’s. But my husband and four children still appreciated it. Their smiles made it all worth the while.
My seven-year-old son’s comments will go down into my book of memories, deep inside my heart.
First, I heard him say to the others when I’d gone into another room, “I love it when Mom does this.” He was refering to when I pulled out oranges and had them stick cloves in–a first for that to. So, I think he simply referred to a craft.
Then I heard him say, “Mmmm, I LOVE holidays smells.” Another good sign.
The finale: “You’re the best mom that I’ve ever had!!!”
Perhaps being on our own this year wasn’t such a bad thing. I needed to venture out, and make some memories for my kids. No matter that we weren’t surrounded with family, this year I learned that WE are all we need.
Then we concluded the day by going to see Happy Feet.