FRUITS of the harvest

By mmm61, guest blogger

This year, I realized I had turned into my mother. I vowed that I would never say “if I can just get through the holidays …” But I did. I have felt this way for the last eight holiday seasons.  I gritted my teeth and I soldiered on. There was no joy in it. Too many family members gone; our center of gravity lost.  Something shook me into awareness of my grim holiday mindset, and I am committed to shaking it off this year.

Though I don’t have “the big house,” I am, by virtue of having offspring, the keeper of the traditions for this holiday. I hold the stuffing bowl, the turkey platter, and the special gravy spoon. I teach my children to make the stuffing that my mother and grandmother and great-grandmother made. Who knows, our stuffing’s lineage may reach farther back than that. When I cook the sausages and mix the seasoning, I am connected to all those women who came before me. I feel their presence, making sure I get it right. Making the gravy is serious business in my family. Another time-honored method is used, but I couldn’t write a recipe for it. It’s more art than science and it takes years of watching the craft to get it right.  My eldest dutifully stands by the stove accepting responsibility for the torch that will one day be passed. She is flanked by relatives who hover over me sure that I will mess it up. Sometimes I do, but I always blame the turkey.

As adults, Thanksgiving eve was the most special time in my parents’ house. My only sister, one of my brothers and I would arrive there and take over the kitchen. We would crank up the stereo and sing while we prepared all the vegetables and desserts for the meal the next day.   None of us needed to speak. We knew our parts. Those were golden moments. Once, I stood back and drank it in and felt how beautiful it was. I cherish that moment now.

I am grateful for the traditions that have been passed on to me, and for the children that are willing to accept them.   I am looking forward to my daughter and her friend baking pies on Wednesday, most likely with musical accompaniment.  Maybe her brother and sister will join in.  I’ll be cooking too, but I hope that I will take a moment and cherish the scene of traditions that live on.

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About Michele

I am a freelance writer with three kids, two cats, and a dog with thyroid disease. I'm bouncing back from a divorce and making the most of every day. There is so much beauty around me. I am grateful!
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3 Responses to FRUITS of the harvest

  1. Mindy says:

    MMM61 – How lucky you are that you have those traditions, and someone to pass them on to. The “family” I spent Thanksgivings with — half my tiny family of birth and the other half adopted for the holiday — are mostly gone or scattered. Our Thanksgivings were polite, tidy affairs, and growing up I longed for a big, noisy, chaotic family Thanksgiving; the only times I found it were at other people’s homes, and those are the Thanksgivings that stand out for me. Most memorable was being adopted by a co-worker my first year in Vermont and whisked down to her brother’s Central Park West apartment for the big day. I watched her siblings and their kids argue and play King of the Couch, held on tight with one arm as I leaned off the bottom rung of a stepladder to take in my first and only Macy’s Day Parade, and came perilously close to throwing up in her brother’s car while stuck in traffic on one of the bridges on our return to Jersey after brunch. It was perfect. Wishing you many moments tomorrow to cherish forever!

  2. mmm61 says:

    Glad to hear you didn’t actually throw up!
    Today has been a good day. The kitchen is toasty from the oven going all afternoon with pies and brie en croute. My daughter and her friend had so much fun figuring out how to make those pies, calling me in now and then for advice. They even made a delicious applesauce with the leftover apples.

    I’ve felt at peace – and my memories of those I’ve lost are finally more of a comfort than a trigger for grief. I hope I can feel that way tomorrow as family gathers and old issues lurk under the surface. I’d like to just be present and let the rest go. We’ll see how I do. I hope you have a wonderful holiday.

  3. mmm61 says:

    forgot to check “notify me of follow-up comments”…I always miss that

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