Unfortunately this year I had two Thanksgivings. Whilst normally, I wouldn’t be one to complain about a second turkey, second corn casserole, and more pie, this was an unexpected second thanksgiving under tragic circumstances.
Sadly, my father died on Sunday night in the US, the day after our fabulous Thanksgiving party, and the Sunday before Thanksgiving here in the US. I’ll spare you all the details but when I got the call in Sydney on Sunday morning to come home, I had thoughts of a Thanksgiving spent eating hospital turkey with my Dad and siblings, joking as he recovered, about how he managed to get all of his kids together for Thanksgiving– not an easy feat for a family of half siblings like mine. Sadly this wasn’t the case, and 5 minutes before I boarded my flight in Sydney, I got the call to say my father had passed on. Needless to say, it’s been a terrible week. I actually can’t believe it hasn’t actually been a week yet. It feels like it’s been a year, or longer even. I don’t know if this is a common feeling at a time like this or not, but it feels like months since I’ve been in Sydney and since things were “normal”. This time last week, we had just picked up our new car, and just finished feeding the masses, and the most taxing thing on our minds was cleaning up. Seriously, I don’t think I realised exactly how happy I was- I knew I was really pleased with my life, but I didn’t realise how good things were. A big huge Thank You to The Runner for cleaning up by the way– the poor thing has been living on leftover cakes and pies from our party all week.
How quickly life changes. Monday, I was in Miami, Tuesday, I was in Orlando, and Thursday morning I was on a plane to DC. If you had asked me Thursday morning, I would have told you that it was hard to be thankful for anything this year, and after the 72 hours that I had, could you blame me? It’s Saturday night, now and I’m at my mom’s house in DC and even though I’m still devastated, distraught and really heartbroken over losing my Dad, I realise I have a lot to be thankful for this year.
The biggest thing I’m thankful for- my family: My memories of my Dad- the man he was, the person he helped to make me and the way he touched those around him; My Mom- her strength, her loving and supportive ways, the way that just being around her gives me the balance I need to feel better, the way that we’re so much alike, it sometimes scares people around us– including each other; My Sister- I think everyone needs a sister, especially one as wonderful as mine, spending time with my sister, nieces, and brother in law was beyond words- surprising my 5 year old niece with a trip to Disney and seeing the look on her face, priceless- and bittersweet since it’s something my Dad talked about all the time; My brothers and their strength, and my Aunts and Uncles as well. I’m also thankful for my friends. I’ve heard form people who I haven’t spoken to in ages and it really has touched me to know that they’re thinking of me and is helping me get through what has been a horrible time.
But enough of all that, since I’m tearing up yet again, I am really Thankful that I got to spend Thanksgiving with my mom. Not just because of the yummy, succulent, juicily brined Turkey– but because it gave me validation that it really was as I remember. Please refer back to my initial post on Thanksgiving for more information but, it really hasn’t changed much– ever at my mom’s house.
It’s still fun and chaotic with three different china sets (and two random tea cups which apparently appeared from nowhere–here are two of the three sets- the third set is the cheap set, so not worth mentioning according to my mom– it’s still nicer than the $3 Ikea plates The Runner and I use for guests……)
There was also napkin folding- of course, and decorative butter which I will do a whole separate blog post about another day– because THAT is a post all for itself. (Here’s a teaser, because I know you’re curious). And more silver platters, trays, etc than I normal person should know what to do with, seriously – Mom, I know you’re reading, what are they all for? You know you could have canapes for 500 people with the number of silver trays you have….. and what is that little silver oyster-y shaped dish for……. I digress again. Although I will bring up the wine bottle caddy…..what and why? It’s cute, but it takes up more room on a table than just putting down a bottle of wine– and you can’t say that it’s so that you don’t stain the tablecloth, because you have a wine bottle coaster as well.
My Mom made a soup- it was delicious- Sweet potato with red curry or something like that.
I was chastised for adding too much cilantro (coriander) garnish. I also didn’t make anything other than the butter this year– apparently I shouldn’t have reminded everyone of the Waldorf Salad incident, they weren’t willing to risk it again. My cousin made a lovely corn casserole– always a crowd favourite, only someone didn’t give her the full recipe, so it didn’t quite turn out- so next year we can tell the story of the fallen corn casserole which will be funny.
I love Thanksgiving at my mom’s house, because it’s a proper grown up Thanksgiving- yes, it’s Capt. Obvious speaking. But it’s true, everything matches, there are actual tablecloths and napkin rings, and you can’t throw the plates away when you’re done with dinner.
And, it’s a pretty good spread of food too (note, that’s on one of the cheap plates, so sorry if it doesn’t look as good)
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. I hope you’ve spent it with people you love and I hope you treasured every moment with them.