This year I am thankful to be spending Thanksgiving with friends, with a Thanksgiving Eve dinner at one home, dinner itself at another. And uncharacteristically, I am so looking forward to not being responsible for dinner!
Of course I'll bring something -- pumpkin soup to the Eve celebration (I made it last night and just sort of winged it -- it was so good, I could barely stop tasting!); stuffing for Thursday.
But I'm not responsible.
For once, the house is as clean as a whistle -- cleaner than you'll ever know, but that's a story for another post. I could have guests. But oh, so nice to spend it away this year, even though away is only a few miles.
As I was dressing this morning, I thought of the past Thanksgivings after the moms died and dad and I would head to Cleveland to be with the family. We did that for several years, till travel became difficult.
Then I became responsible. Whether I cooked at my house or dad's, I was in charge, making sure everything came out at the same time (not my strongest suit) and that it tasted good. When Rick and I got together, we shared the cooking, which has been wonderful (because I hate mashing potatoes, for one thing).
But I'm still responsible.
I believe there is a point in our lives when we -- meaning our generation, and more likely than not, the women -- take over the holiday dinners. It's one of those signs of growing up, as real as balancing the checkbook, managing the budget, bringing home a paycheck and then dividing it up with precious little left for fun.
It's almost always synonymous with moving away from home -- even if that's only a few miles away.
You put those skills you've learned to work -- who knew when you were playing with the pink toy stove as a child that one day you'd fill a large one with turkey?
You learned about being careful around the burners, perhaps had a few scars (or burned foods) to show for it. Maybe you still do! (I know I do!) But you've learned how to cook the veggies. (If you're lucky, you have a Rick to make the gravy.)
You've learned what is beautiful and work to make your table reflect your style. Simple or elaborate, natural or over the top.
You've learned how to have guests in your home -- how to take care of them so the will leave feeling warm and full, even if you didn't have a bite and ate in the snow.
And hopefully, you've learned how to say, "Sure, you can bring the salad" (or dessert or veggies or appetizers!)
My cousin Mutty hosts the Cousin Thanksgiving in Cleveland now. The family is an extended one, with her husband's family, brother, sister and their families. The kids are home from school. And, depending on the year, some may be celebrating at in-laws. We may talk on the phone, send greetings, and know we're grateful to have a loving family, as spread out as it may be.
The thing that's different from so many years past is that now our generation is the "old" one. The moms and dads have died and now we're in charge. We welcome the younger generation with joy, happy to see how our family trees continue.
I have much to be thankful for this year -- a year when no one has been in the hospital, we're still employed, have a roof over our heads. There's lots of love, lots of friends (I count you in that number) and a furry feline with a great purr.
We have lost family members and friends, and that hurt tremendously. But we're grateful to have had these people in our lives.
I send you warm Thanksgiving greetings -- whether you are hosting or being a guest, dining at a restaurant or serving at a shelter. If you are facing challenges, I hope you will find something lovely to hang onto during this season. If you have experienced loss, that your memories will soothe you.
And may you look forward to joy.
Please remember you have till midnight on Thanksgiving evening/day to enter the drawing for "Simple Abundance" (and something else to be determined!). (NOTE: The drawing is closed -- see the next post for winners!) Good luck to you all! And feel free to save the vintage postcard images in this post for your creative use!
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