I never know exactly what it is about this time of year, but I welcome it each time it comes around. Crisp air, warm blankets and lots of nights snuggled up with a good book. Hot tea, warm cocoa with marshmallows on top, a good time to catch up on things around the house that have been neglected because who wants to spend the warm weather inside?
Birthdays, and holidays all come tumbling into town like a bat out of HELL!
So much to do and so little time. Christmas seems to be oozing before we’ve even put our costumes on to trick or treat! I just cannot keep up!
I love this time of year, I can begin to smell pumpkin pie , pecan pie and turkey with all the trimmings.
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of all. Good friends and family come to my home and we make room for whoever doesn’t have a place to go . It is just one more chair and as we say ” scoot on down” what is one more? Though some years we are full house with a table spilling into the next room. I love it I am surrounded by people I love. and now and then a new face to join us and get to know one more persons tale, one more person to share with. I love it!
One year we had 22 people sitting around our table!
I used to love running about to all the stores getting everything I needed to make a meal a moment to remember long after I am gone. I love cooking and I am pretty good at it as well. Not really sure how I learned nobody ever gave me a recipe to follow. The family recipes, well they are whatever I have made up. I am trying hard to put pen to paper and write them all down so my children will be able to make them inside their own homes. Long after I am gone when they sit with their families I hope they will smile and remember the times we shared .
Good company and good food what in the world could be better?
Many years ago while I was married to my first husband( may he rest in peace) we decided before we really had kids that Thanksgiving for us would be celebrated by asking the students that attended the University that either didn’t have family or couldn’t afford to go home that we would invite them. One year I made the rounds and handed out care packages of turkey and stuffing and never forgot the cranberry jelly! I cannot tel you how much fun I had running around the University making sure nobody was left ( can you see a theme yet? I hate anyone feeling lonely)!
Then I was pregnant with my oldest child and it became difficult to run about making sure anyone and everyone had a piece of the pie so to speak.
That was the year we wrote out invites that hung in Regency Hall and made sure students knew there was in fact family to join. only rule ever was bring a dish to share, potato chips was fine.
I had no idea what we had started as we lived in a 4th floor walk up. Our apartment was not very large but somehow we made it work.
Yes, this was actually my home once upon a time top left corner actually. ( not one of my favorite places truth be told)
Thanksgiving rolled around and the day was busy with incredible smells coming from my run down kitchen the size of a pea! Knocking became rapid with one then two and then small groups began to gather. One brought a dish of potato salad ! I chuckle now as I did back then. Who eats potato salad at Thanksgiving? Welcoming all sorts of strangers into our nest, and yelling behind then SHUT THE DOOR! It was cold outside for crying out loud! One brought pie, and someone else brought wine, one I remember clear as day brought a loaf of white bread! Yes, that’s correct but it sure made for great sandwiches the next day!
Yes, white bread is really the only way to make a great left over turkey sandwich!
They filed in one after another and that my friends, was one HELL of a day! My small home was filled with many strangers(not for long) but not a one was left hungry or with out laughing and making new friends.I remember one in particular, we are still friends. That was a long time ago. You just never know where you will find a new friend or a new member of your family. You just need to reach out and say hello every once in a while. We continued that tradition for all the years I can recall. Though the faces changed the sentiment still remains. No body should spend a holiday feeling left out or forgotten. I don’t care who you are or where you are!
So these days while I am not as well or as young as I used to be, who is? I still cook Thanksgiving dinner and I still invite those that might otherwise be using their microwaves for their frozen dinner come to my home. We laugh and tell stories some mighty gross I have to admit and some so embarrassing that we laugh till our sides ache! I make sure the skin is crispy for my favorite Thanksgiving guest, he comes and he is allergic to my pets, but he comes and he eats till he can no longer take another bite! ( I said I was a good cook right?) He holds a special place in my heart, he is part of MY family!
I find these days I am forced to share and while I understand it, something is always missing for me when one doesn’t seem. My children are grown with partners of their own and they have families that insist on having them join whats up with that? Don’t they understand I need them to come with me? I confess I get it people grow up and have families of their own . I mean if you do it right that’s the way it is supposed to be. People get married and want to enjoy their homes with their guests, and I get that. It reminds me I am getting old.
This year Thanksgiving wont be the same, we have always had my mother in law come join us. This year she is no longer with us she passed away this Summer. I miss her very much. She was the only woman I ever knew who put their hands on either side of my head, holding my face in her hands and spoke these words. “I love you, thank you for being part of my family.”” I am so happy my Jayme found you.”(Jayme is what she called my husband though that is not his name) She had a daughter already, and I really never fit in anywhere. This was so new for me. I didn’t have family remember, and my mother was long dead. Sarah, will be forever ingrained in my heart she holds a spot no one else ever did. She was the closet thing to a mother I would ever know. I will forever cherish her memory and all that she filled my heart with.
My oldest daughter gave Sarah, her first Great Granddaughter !
How wickedly awesome is that?
I realize with my mother- in-law, that she was NOT my mom, she had children of her own. I was simply an addition. She loved me though, I know she did.
I find myself thinking though about her children, holidays are a funny thing we tend to miss those that have passed and another holiday has come and will pass without them.
I know my children miss their father especially this time of year.
Randy, father to my children , grandfather to My granddaughter, and my first husband.
(I miss him too)
I thank him everyday for the children we made together. I know he is proud and watches over my children. I hope he knows how beautiful they are. How proud I am of them.
I suppose if I could say anything I wanted with no worries of what others might think, this is what Id say:
To my husband, first, I thank you for introducing me to this funny gal, I remember the first time we brought flowers to her on mother’s day. I smile each time that memory enters my brain. Thank you for allowing me to love such a fine lady, she blessed my soul in ways you will never know. I am grateful for all you brought into my life,you,your children, mom, and sister and more…. I think my husband was a very lucky man to have had such a woman as a mother, she loved him oh did she love him so. She loved the kind of daddy you were and the man you grew to be. She was so proud of you, I saw it in her eyes each time we stopped by. I am so sorry for this loss.( I always wished someone might love me just a little that way.) I wish I had the pleasure of meeting your father, I have heard so much about him as well. Well they are now together, the battling Bickersons as they might be . They are not lonely though and I hope the ball game plays wherever they may be.
To my sister-in-law, though we are not as close as I may have dreamed of, we are family no matter how you slice it. We live very different lives ,but I am extremely grateful to be a part of such a family as yours. I want to thank you for sharing your mother, I know it is not always easy to share. You will never know what it has meant to me, for words cannot describe the gap in my heart your mother filled for me. I know you miss her as well.( I am so sorry for your loss.)
She was your mother not mine.
I think you( my sister-in-law) were blessed beyond belief to have such a woman for a mother, she loved you , she so often lived through you, telling me tales of all your travels through the land. I think she admired you. She always spoke of what a wonderful mother you are. She enjoyed all your adventures, she may never have set foot in Italy but, she did travel with you and through you Sarah most definitely adored the children you gave her to love and spoil making her a Grandmother first, she was blessed to have a daughter and you’re the only one !
This year I say thank you to my Sisters in law. I have two! One from my first husband( who rests soundly in peace) and I am lucky she still calls me sis! She is one great gal and I will remember the rest of my life riding horses in the mountains oh we did have a fine time!
In my dreams I still ride, jumping puddles and all. I can feel the leather against my legs, as we rode through the trees. headed for the hills wherever they lead! Thank you for such a gift I hold it close inside my heart !
My other sister-in-law, I need to say thank you ( while she may never see this) I don’t write so much for others as I do for myself.
Thank you for allowing me to love such an incredible woman who has made my life richer than you can possibly know. Thank you for sharing a little of her love I will never take that for granted. I feel blessed to have had one hug, one kiss, one moment . I shall carry her with me wherever I may go, however long I shall live. Growing up with no family ,with no one to call my own makes YOUR mothers love that so much sweeter than anyone will ever know. So thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I am sure she will smile over our tables this year. She remains a part of my being, she changed the texture of my fabric. Thank you for that gift.
I need to tend to some things now, but I close with this in mind. Take a moment and look around at whatever your family may be, family of the heart, family of the blood, family of friends, pets, whatever the case may be. YOU are blessed, your lives are graced, you may not know it now, but one day, you will look back and remember, hopefully you will remember without regrets and only to say families come in all shapes and sizes, None of them perfect and all with flaws, but ” feathery, leathery, lovely or bent” love what you have and a little extra wont hurt!
Thank you all for coming along today and perhaps you will look a little different at someone who has always been there.
I welcome anyone who chooses to join my table along with my family and friends I make a mean turkey and the best mashed potatoes this side of the Mississippi!( my sweet potatoes are something to write home about!)
My husband makes the best jello molds! ( we’ve chosen to take that with us, in memory of his children’s mother and his first wife.)
See, family is a weird, complicated and a wonderful thing!
Be grateful for whatever it is, and know you have more than most!
Take nothing for granted and remember there is always room to scoot over, it’s just one extra chair!
So share. it is a great gift.
Robin~ a simple bird.