Our “First” Thanksgiving

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Our “First” Thanksgiving

The dishes are washed, the leftovers divvied up or stored, the linens are waiting to be laundered. Yesterday was the big day. We had the family here for Thanksgiving: the forty-something-th Thanksgiving hosted here and our first without Mom’s help. There were smiles and a lot of grateful hearts but also a few weepy/melancholy moments along the way. It’s just so strange to be doing the Mom-things when Mom is still here just not herself.

The two things I was really anxious about were the rolls and the gravy. I know–really? But yes. I bought Williams Sonoma turkey gravy base so that was covered. (Although to the lady in the store who said in a shocked voice, “That will never be enough for sixteen people, it’s barely enough for the six of us;” It might be time to evaluate your gravy usage! It was more than enough for the sixteen of us…in fact we had half of it left.) The rolls looked fantastic (phew) but the bigger pan was a little doughy in the middle. Oh well, we didn’t want it to seem too easy right? I tried to take photos of everything along the way but of course I didn’t get any of the table when it was finished or of the table when it was full. Oh well. I’m sure it looked just like every other table in America yesterday.

Delores was awesome and just what I needed every time I turned around. Really, really, really can’t imagine walking through the day yesterday without her. Thank God for sisters!

Once we chose the printables, we got this gorgeous wired satin ribbon. I was soooo excited to use it.

I used the dark brown on the handle of the basket we used for “thankful cards.” As each guest arrived, Dad asked them to write something they were thankful for inside. He told them to think of something somewhat unique to them and then not to write their names. He collected them all and after dinner he read them one by one and we guessed who had written it. I loved it! It was a great way to find out that David got a promotion, that Uncle Jack’s son, Cousin Greg, is home from Afghanistan, that Jimmy is looking to expand his business, and that I am evidently thankful to have been married to the man of my dreams for twenty-two years now. (Thank you, Glenn, for writing my card for me.)


We set the table with white tablecloths, white dishes from Dollar Tree, Mom’s crystal saucers, and brown paper napkins. Safeway had those wheat sheaf things so we got three of them and then tied the taupe ribbon over the burlap and raffia so you didn’t even know they were there!

You can see here that Mom wanted to help set the table: as I was setting the silver on one table, she placed this plastic measuring cup (in a lovely golden-rod color from the 70’s) and wooden spoon at one setting.

We tied the place cards on the backs of the chairs using both of the colors of ribbon. The ladies’ place cards were tied with bows and the guys with knots. And praise me! I successfully tied the ribbons in not-a-pattern. This is unheard of for me. Every time I think I’m doing something not in a pattern I look closer and sure enough, I’ve done it again. Delores helped me tie the ribbons. I think they looked amazing.

After dinner, when everything was cleaned up, Delores stacked our Dollar Tree dishes up next to things from the table and I thought it was so pretty I snapped a photo.

Here’s a closer shot of the basket. The unused cards are sitting on the tea cart but look at the cards in the basket–I love that there’s a gravy stain on the top one.

So we did it. It wasn’t the same but it was good. You know how you view everything through your own lens and assume the rest of the world views it the same way? (No? I’m the only one on this?) I thought about how much I wanted this to be lovely. How it felt like a coming-of-age thing to take the reins on this. I wanted it to feel the same for Mom. I didn’t want to change it up too much because I didn’t want her to feel odd about it. I’d never want to make her feel de-valued. But I didn’t think about how important it would be for the rest of the family until I read this sweet facebook post from my niece…made me cry a bit:

What am I thankful for? Today for starters, My Mom and Aunt for putting together a Thanksgiving feast exactly how Grandma would have done it had she been feeling better… I love you Grandma (Nanc’ and Mom) with all my heart!

Hope your Thanksgiving was filled with family and friends and little bit too much to eat.

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6 responses »

  1. Nancy- You have such a way with words. You are able to take experiences that must be incredibly difficult and share them with grace and love.

  2. Thanks for your loving comments and you know I would and will do whatever I can to help you!! I am so grateful to share any moments with you and am tso very thankful that God sent you to be with me on this journey – it’s not as difficult for me when my sister is there to know what emotions I’m going through and to feel the love in her hugs, love you so much!!

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