It’s almost Thanksgiving, glossy cooking magazines from years past strewn on the counter, menu set, shopping list made, action plan in place. Little by little it’s beginning to feel like the holiday, corn muffins baked and hidden in the freezer; delicately spiced gingersnaps stashed behind; colorful fall squash soup bubbling on the stove, and the remainder of the traditional holiday meal prepped for the big day.
Now, just one more trip to the grocery store, and I’ll be ready.
Ready for the little ones — who are not so little anymore — arriving to mash potatoes and mix corn relish and stir cranberry sauce. To decorate the table and make hand written place cards, to chase the dogs and then make sure our furry friends snag a taste of whatever we are cooking.
Meantime, the older kids, our kids, certainly not kids anymore, get a chance to catch up, to just hang out with each other, and with us. To go for a run, or take a walk, or go out and toss a football around. To do a taste test on the stuffing or the pumpkin filling, to cut up the fruit or toss the salad. There is an ease of the day, no where we need to go, no place we have to be, just home.
Of course, you can never go home again, and even as some of our offspring and theirs, gather with us, we’re always keenly aware that while they may have grown up in our home, they now have homes, and lives, of their own. Significant others, and more, extended families that go beyond our neat nuclear one of six that launched them. And launch we did, out into the wide, wide world where they’ve each made their way, made the choices that are right for them, and continue to make us proud.
Their arrival, and departure, evokes bittersweet memories of Thanksgivings past, when we were packing our kids in the car to travel to Grandma’s, arriving to a house that beckoned with the scent of roasting turkey and my mom’s apple pie. I still have a few old snapshots, of our two older girls in matching dresses and patent leather shoes, hair in fancy French braids, perched on my dad’s knees with me in the background clutching our third — or was it our fourth? — little one. Wonderful times to recall, though now it is us waiting excitedly for the family to arrive, and then, just as quickly, take off, back to their own full lives.
So we gather, enjoying the company of those who can be around the table, and missing those who cannot, yet truly savoring the moment in time, when, it feels, well, just like home.
And while the main event is dinner, the traditional turkey with all the fixings, it is really more about family than food, more about taking time out to be together. And what better place to be than around the table.
Taking time to say thanks, for all we have, and especially each other. For all we hope for others who are not as fortunate as we are. And for all this wonderful country with its unbounded freedom has given us, as we remember its roots, and ours, and the blessings and bounty it has afforded us.
Especially the blessing of home.