Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Little Bit of Old and New

I have so many wonderful memories attached to Thanksgiving. When I was in elementary school, my mom always dressed me up as a pilgrim on Thanksgiving. Little gray dress, little white cap, little white apron. So cute! She had me memorize Thanksgiving poems and songs to perform for the family. On Thanksgiving, my sister and I used to snuggle up with warm blankets on the couch and watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Around 1:00, we piled into the car and headed to the home of whichever family member was hosting Thanksgiving dinner. Some years it was at Auntie Maggie's. A few years it was at Aunt Lotte's in Sacramento. And then we started going to Granny's cousin Ursella's house. It is way up on top of the mountain in Saratoga. On clear days you can see all the way to San Francisco, and down to Morgan Hill. For you non-Californians, that's a span of about 60 miles! It is breathtaking! I loved all the traditional Thanksgiving foods: Ursella's perfectly roasted, specially ordered turkey; my mom's red cabbage; cousin Linda's yam casserole; Missy's heavenly mashed potatoes; lots of gravy; and the pies! After dinner, we always played charades with my younger cousins. Best charade ever: my mom being Humpty Dumpty...hilarious!

There are some bitter Thanksgiving memoryies along with the sweet. Shortly after Whitney was born, my mom's cancer was starting to resist the chemo. That Thanksgiving was the last day she ever ate a meal. Even then, it was just a few bites. Nothing would stay down. A week later she was admitted to the hospital and we learned that the tumors had blocked her intestines. From that point on, Mom had iv feedings. We knew that would be her last Thanksgiving, so we savored each tradition, each conversation, each new memory.

Then in 2006 Matt and I moved to Arkansas. Everything has changed. Part of me welcomes the changes. Establishing new traditions, trying new foods, spending the day with different people--all those have a way of soothing my sore heart. Being with the family on Thanksgiving without my mom magnifies the void she left when she died.

I am looking forward to tomorrow! I'm cooking the turkey, as well as cornbread stuffing, from-scratch cranberry jelly, mashed potatoes, gravy, and green bean casserole! Oh, and I can't forget the baked artichoke parmesan dip! I will be posting the recipe on the recipe blog listed on my blog roll. Our friends Adam and Laura are coming over with their three girls. Matt's college friend Tim, who lives in Little Rock, is coming too. It promises to be a day of great fun and conversation.

I have so much to be thankful for. I could write out a whole long list, but that would take too long and wouldn't be very much fun to read. I think I'll save it for my journal. However, I will comment on one thing--the faithfulness of God. We have had some trying times this year. Yet God has brought us through, providing everything we need, even when the numbers don't line up. He has given wisdom when we have asked for it. He has directed us in some difficult decisions. He has comforted us when we have been hurting. And He has worked specifically in our lives, in ways that are nothing short of miraculous! How great is our God!

So tomorrow as I spend my morning in the kitchen, I will be focusing my thanks toward God. Yes, it will be a wonderful day. Happy Thanksgiving, my friends. I am thankful for you!

1 comment:

Stef said...

Em, I began reading this post and knew you would mention memories of your Mom in here and I told myself "you don't need to cry and get all blubbery." Not even 2 paragraphs in, I'm asking Jason for tissue and sobbing like a baby. I love how expressive you are and how open you are with your emotions. It makes me understand the pain my Mom must feel every year, since she lost her mom to ovarian cancer just weeks before Thanksgiving, back in 1983. I know that sounds so long ago, but I'm sure every year, the memories are so fresh, so hard to bear and yet wonderful at the same time.
Thank you for sharing. I love your positive attitude. Your mom would be so proud to know that you're carrying on and giving thanks to God; making new and fun memories for your two little munchkins. :)

Happy Thanksgiving! Love you.