This is the first year we will be celebrating Thanksgiving Day without our sons. They are living across the country with their wives, in Colorado and California. It’s a weird feeling, because we miss them and wish we could spend this special holiday with them, but at the same time we are really looking forward to having a cozy and wonderful day. It will be the three of us…my husband Joe, my mother and me.
Sometimes I wonder if my sons savor the memories of Thanksgiving Day in the same way I do. Just thinking of Thanksgiving brings up all kinds of memories and feelings.
I remember waking up to the sounds of my parents preparing the turkey for roasting. That would always include a lot of arguing for some reason, but in our house, that was normal. I loved to watch them stuff the bird, and then pop it in the oven.
Back when I was a little girl, it seemed as though the turkey cooked all day. I’ve always loved turkey and stuffing, and the smell throughout the house was intoxicating. I’ve come to realize how my feelings and memories are intensely attached to the aromas and tastes of traditional holiday foods.
To me, traditions convey warmth and family.
The next thing my three sisters and I would do is turn on the Thanksgiving Day Parade. How we loved to check out all the awesome floats and characters! We would gather together and enjoy the music and wonder of the parade. Such simple pleasures!
As the morning headed toward noontime, my mom would pass around some appetizers to keep our bellies from rumbling. This would always include celery stuffed with cream cheese and pineapple, and cream cheese with olives. (I loved both) There would also be cheese and crackers, and sometimes shrimp cocktail. And there was always a bowl of whole nuts to keep us busy. I don’t know what I loved more – eating the nuts or cracking them open with the cool nutcracker!
Thanksgiving would usually include my Grandfather, my Aunt Lillian, and my Great Uncle John. It was a special day, so we would pull out the tablecloth, and set the table with cloth napkins and silver. We would light candles. We didn’t have fancy or expensive china, but I can tell you, I loved those dinners. It felt so special to me.
After all these years, I finally understand the true gift my mom and dad were giving us through our holiday traditions. They were planting memories of home and family…little bits and pieces of love that will always be in my heart.
You see, it didn’t matter that the glasses and dishes might not have matched. It didn’t matter that we lived in a little house, and our “dining room table” was actually in our living room. To tell you the truth, I never even thought about any of that.
Our family was very far from perfect. In fact, there were things that happened in our house that should never have been – things that were hurtful and confusing.
But looking back, I see that my parents were always trying to find ways to instill family and stability into our lives. They gifted us with many wonderful memories, and I never want to forget any of them.
Through our own family traditions, my husband and I have attempted to gift our sons with memories that they will carry with them forever, to share with their families.
It was way more than the turkey, stuffing, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce and pumpkin and apple pies.
It was the blessing and miracle of family.
And I hope that when my sons smell their holiday meal cooking, and they are enjoying time with their own families, they will always feel us in their hearts, as they are always in ours.
May we always remember to treasure our family and friends that God has blessed us with. Have a joyous Thanksgiving!
- What Will You Be Carving on Thanksgiving Day? (georgettesullins.wordpress.com)