Well I did it: served another Thanksgiving dinner to my family. I’m not sure what happened. I did everything I usually do, yet the green beans in the cheesy bacon casserole were too crunchy, the mashed potatoes were too soupy, the dressing not bready enough, and by the time Hubby carved the turkey, it arrived at the table cold. Our daughter asked, “Is there any WARM turkey??” In the middle of dinner, I had to transfer the turkey out of the fancy china dish with the golden trim into a casserole dish and microwave it so it would edible! I forgot the rolls were rising in the oven and preheated the oven with them inside, causing them to seize rising and not cook thoroughly. Thank goodness for my “almost daughter-in-law” who brought a delicious pumpkin pie and apple tarts! Thanks, Samantha! I guess after cooking this same meal for so many years, I just phoned it in this time. I love the cooking marathon, but next year will find the recipes in the cupboard and double check my work.
Of course it was great to have our whole family together, but lately the kids want to play games I’m not interested in such as Ticket to Ride and Carcassonne and then when they got to Scrabble, there wasn’t really room for me at the table. So I sat on the couch nearby playing Words with Friends enjoying the music of their voices and soaking up the nearness of my children. But lately I feel like when they are all together (and now they are four, instead of three, because of Patrick’s fiance) there is a bit more teasing (not always kindly) and treating me like “Mom,” as opposed to when I see them one-on-one and they mostly treat me like “Mary.” My kids are all in their twenties now, and I like that we can have a relationship as adults together, without me being in charge of their lives. I like that we all ENJOY being together (most of the time, haha). We giggled together over the movie, Seems Like Old Times, which was certainly a highlight of the day for me. Overall it was very nice, and Christmas time will be here before you know it and we will all be together again.
So the day after Thanksgiving, I was feeling a little blue because Thanksgiving had not gone exactly as I had planned, but I shook the feeling off because it was A GOOD DAY. I asked myself, why should I get to plan the games and the movie just because I am the host? I’m so happy to host, so the lesson for me is “let it go” and “be flexible” and remember to be so incredibly grateful that we live close to each other and can be together often.
I distracted myself from over-thinking the situation by watching several new episodes of Chef and the Farmer on the PBS website. Vivian exhausts me! I want to say to her, slow down, Girlfriend . . . and I want to give her a hug. After watching Vivian cook persimmon pudding, I went into the living room and there I spied it: The dreaded Book Group novel. It sat on my coffee table, taunting me with its thick spine which encased all tedious 462 pages. The title sounded so appealing: A Gentleman in Moscow. Doesn’t it sound so romantic, like one of those books you finish and sigh sadly because you’re so sad it’s over? Well folks, let me tell you, it is NOT that kind of book, and I decided to not let it mock me anymore and placed it firmly in the library pile where it will be donated,and I will never have to look at it again.
Then I picked up Cold Tangerines by Shauna Niequist, a book my friend Hanna loaned me . . . and it was just what I needed! I don’t know much about this author, but I would summarize this book by saying it’s about her struggle to be the best person she can be and to be a good person in the World. She has so many great quotes, but this one is what I needed to read this week: “We sometimes choose the most locked-up, dark versions of the story, but what a good friend does is turn on the lights, open the window, and remind us that there are a whole lot of ways to tell the same story.” I hope my kids tell the story of this year’s Thanksgiving that we had a great day together (and not that mom seemed grumpy).