As this year's Season of Holiday Joy & Madness has officially arrived, you are welcome to read my personal spiel to thankfulness over at my other blog, Even After Claire. In spite of its unabashedly sentimental nature, it's all quite true. For those who'd rather skip all that, here's the slightly less warm fuzzy version of what it is I like about this holiday:
Every year of my life except one when I was in college and was so far behind that I barely took time to cook a meal with a friend who also had mind-boggling amounts of reading to catch up on, I have always spent Thanksgiving with my family. In spite of the fact that in our own ways, every single one of us is quite weird, or perhaps because of it, there is something refreshing and comforting about spending 24 hours or so in such close proximity with this particular group of people.
As usual, this year:
- Several conversations were typically going at once. Often, strange things were uttered. This year my favorite bizarre overheard utterance was: "Somebody put a cookie in my mouth!" To no-one in particular these words were stated, not once but twice. I won't tell you who said it, 'cause I promised I wouldn't.
- I'm pretty sure I saw my mom roll her eyes at me.
- I probably deserved it: I can be quite bossy and opinionated at times, although I know you'll be very surprised to read this.
- The menu had been verbally planned by anyone who cared to join in the planning, the dishes were prepared in a remarkably haphazard way that would confuse anyone else outside my family but which works perfectly for us. The day goes something like this:
We wake up whenever we like. The person who needs it most, usually me, decides to make a pot of coffee, then works really hard to make sure everyone's cup has been filled so she can quickly make a second pot, thereby ensuring the likelihood that there'll be more for her as soon as she needs another cup...often before another person has come close to finishing their first cup.
Then some random person decides to make something for breakfast, and asks the person standing the closest which of two morning-foodstuff options sounds the tastiest. Once that decision is nailed down, that person commences to prepare breakfast.
Meanwhile, the person with the least interesting thing to occupy her mind and attention wanders into the kitchen and declares she (usually it's a she, although this year both men in the house prepared a dish as well...woo hoo!!!) thinks she'll start cooking some side dish or other. "Just to get that out of the way," she usually states. Whomever is nearby generally agrees that this is, indeed, a brilliant idea, and the first dish that hasn't been brought and refridgerated the night before is now prepared.
Throughout the morning and into the early part of the afternoon, variations of that seemingly-random process is repeated until suddenly, at a time nobody would have been able to predict and therefore nobody has actually stated, all the dishes in today's menu are miraculously ready at the exact same time, everyone's rounded up, we share our thoughts about what it is we're thankful for, the blessing is asked, and then we eat. A lot.
- In fact, everyone ate too much, lamented the fact that they'd eaten far more than they could possibly have imagined, that they couldn't possibly ever put another bite in their mouths, and proceeded to do just that within about an hour or so.
However, this year the family had grown by one and that addition is now 9 months old. Therefore, some things were different:
- No matter what was happening at any given time, if That Very Small Person needed or wanted anything, whomever had been deemed worthy to be asked to get it for His Highness dropped everything else immediately and gave it to him. Whether it be a wooden spoon, a bottle, the scarf you're knitting, his stuffed Grover, to be carried from room to room so he can survey his domain from the best viewpoint, or Thank The Lord, sometimes a fresh diaper.
- We laughed even more than usual.
- There was a lot more singing. Of sillier songs than ever before. Made up songs that have never been, thankfully, recorded.
- Once or twice I got the neck-prickling sensation of a memory long buried when I heard She Who Is Now a Grandma start to repeat a phrase, meant to entertain very small people, I hadn't heard in years and years. Eerie how that stuff comes back around.
- A couple of times I was able to blow off helping out in the meal preparation because I was trapped under a sleeping baby in a very comfy chair.
- Lot more photos taken this year.
- Drool. Lotta' drool.
- My mom kept looking for Mr. Pie's hairbrush. Something his mom and his auntie rarely bother to think of doing seemed to really give Grandma a great deal of pleasure. And so he had his hair brushed rather a lot today.
Just like yours, no doubt, I can't begin to accurately depict the random kookiness of my family's holiday celebration, nor half the reasons it was so special. But it was. And I hope yours was too.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!