Saturday, November 28, 2009

Giving Thanks

I was way too busy to write my Thanksgiving post so it's a bit late. But they always say...better late than never, right?

For our family, it was long and emotional, yet it turned out to be a start of a tradition. Over the last few weeks, I've been tossing around the idea of staying at home for Thanksgiving. For the last 11 years, we would pack up and go to Granny's house for lunch and then go to my Mom's for dinner. When I started to think about our yearly "routine", there was a BIG missing Granny. Our entire family was taking that really hard, especially Frankie. Granny played such an important part in our holidays and our traditions and this year is going to be tough. We're at the 6 month mark of her death and it's still just as hard for everyone as it was six months ago.

Granny's biggest joy was getting everyone in the family together to eat. She loved to cook and no matter what time of day it was, if you stopped by her house, you'd better have room for something to eat because she was going to cook for you. This year, the family was divided. There was no gathering at Granny's house, no cramming 25 people into an apartment and there was no Granny.

I decided that I'd take on the task of cooking this year. I spoke to my Mom about it and told her that I wanted Thanksgiving at my house this year and she could come here to visit. I then broke the news to Frankie's Aunt, who thought she was going to be alone that day. I saw a spark come back into her. She began talking about what she could make and bring. We told her we would drive down to get her in the morning and she could help me cook and then we'd take her home later after dinner. We only live about 20 minutes from her but our road is long and winding and she's scared to drive down here so once she found out we'd come and get her then she got even more excited!

I woke up around 7:30am and got the girls up around 8am. We did some last minute cleaning before the cooking started. Kayleigh was in charge of desserts this year and she'd already made 2 pumpkin cheesecakes. She was ready to make her cheesecake brownies. Once those were done, it was my turn to get in the kitchen! This was not only my first year cooking Thanksgiving, it was my first time ever preparing a turkey. Many of you may not know, Kayleigh & Kacey are vegetarians. So cooking a turkey was a BIG deal for me! I started the turkey around 10am. Frankie left to go pick up his aunt shortly after I started cooking. I sat down and enjoyed the rest of the Macy's parade with Kayleigh since there was really nothing else I could do. Frankie arrived back home with his aunt and she walked in with a smile. This is the first time I've seen her really smile in the last 6 months. She came in with a tray of prepared yams...just like Granny used to make them for me. She said, "I made your yams the way Mama did." I smiled and when I got to the kitchen alone, I broke into tears. Granny knew I couldn't make those yams the way she did and now they're made! Kacey managed to convince Frankie and his Aunt to play the Wii with her. His Aunt had never even held a Wii remote so it was all new to her! She caught on fast and before long I could hear giggles coming from my living room. I peeked around the corner to see them all laughing hysterically and bowling on the Wii. Laughter...something that Granny loved and there hadn't been much of. She'd of been so happy :)

By 5pm, we were ready to eat! My Mom and Brian came over and my best friend Lori and her boys came over. Lori's husband is deployed right now (and has been for 23 months). He's due to come home next week so instead of spend Thanksgiving alone, we invited them over too! Ten people, lots of laughter, a football game between my team and my brothers team, more food than we could ever eat.....yep, it was perfect and a great start to a new tradition!

So as difficult as the day was, it turned out to be wonderful!

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