Happy Thanksgibbing!

Posted on | November 21, 2018 | No Comments

I can’t really say why I’ve not liked Thanksgiving for a while. Maybe it’s because we always spent the day in the car as a kid, driving the three hours to the small town of Tarboro, NC to visit much loved Grandparents. Maybe it’s because everything was very “hurry up and wait” as we piled into the house and smelled all the cooking for what seemed like hours before being allowed to grab a heavy duty paper plate and make our way through the line.

Maybe it’s that we always ended up sitting in the laundry room, perched on the high bar stools, the only grandkids for a while… and then the oldest by far. The grownups would laugh and chatter and there we’d be, my sister and I back in the laundry room, behind the saloon style door, eating our lunches alone. Then my brother came along and our bar stool perches became a kids table, still in the laundry room as there weren’t many other options in the small house my Grandfather built.

But maybe it’s not because those things were wrong… but because they were so right. I loved being able to hear my Uncle David laughing at something my father said. I loved my Grandmother covering her mouth and pretending to be shocked but secretly laughing. I loved the sound my Granddaddy made when he pushed back from the table and patted his stomach with a happy groan. I loved the hurried prayer and the rumble of chairs pushing against the floor as we all crammed into the small house, filling it to the brim with turkey and dressing and collards and love… so much love.

Maybe it’s the absence of all that, all of those strong, faded photograph memories, that makes Thanksgiving so terrible now. It’s strange to think I won’t go back to that house, with the kitchen that stayed a few degrees warmer and the smell that was part Grandma’s heavy powder with a twist of Granddaddy’s country ham biscuits. Maybe that’s what has made Thanksgiving so strange these last few years… the absence of family: the disappearance of a generation who shaped me into who I am, who cradled me from birth. Perhaps it’s a longing for a time I can’t get back, for people I can’t have back. But still… I want my children to grow up embracing the idea behind Thanksgiving… the family togetherness, the love, the food… all of it.

So this year, I think I’ll start a new tradition. No more Thanksgiving. No more wishing for Grandma’s dressing or Grandaddy’s stew. If I want them, I’ll make them. No more hiding in the wings and wishing someone would recreate that feeling of bursting at the seams with family.

No.

From now on, we start our own traditions, whatever they may be. From now on, I cook what feels right, I do what feels right, WE do what feels right. For our family… the soon to be five of us.

No more Thanksgiving.

This year? We’re celebrating Thanksgibbing.  And I think Grandma and Granddaddy would totally approve.

 

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