Growing up

I bought a turkey today for the first time. The frozen, Butterball kind that you have to thaw in advance. It’s 14 pounds. I may have pulled a muscle dragging it out of Fred Meyer. I’m kind of excited.

Harry and I are both only children, so even a holiday with both of our immediate families is small. Harry remembers a lot of Thanksgivings where the table was covered with Mexican food — did I mention he’s from Texas?

For me, Thanksgiving has always been about tradition. The food. The people. Even, the format. Turkey, dressing, sweet potatoes, rolls, fried okra, pecan pie and the gross cranberry jelly sauce from a can — it has to be there, but I would NEVER eat it.

It always happens at my grandmother’s (I call her Momaw) house and the men sit in front of football with TV trays and the women sit at the table near the kitchen so they can talk … and do the dishes. I am from the South, remember?

In the years we’ve been married — including the two in India, I don’t think we’ve done Thanksgiving the same way twice. But we’ve never had to be alone on Thanksgiving and it’s always been meaningful. Even the year I cried all day because absolutely nothing was the same and I felt so far away from the people closest to me.

I know not everyone has options like we do for where to spend holidays. This year, I’m choosing to be grateful thank God for it see it as a blessing. (By the way, try writing a post about Thanksgiving without using the words grateful or thankful.)

To me, Thanksgiving is about slowing down. Taking time to plan and cook a meal I wouldn’t normally cook. A meal that nourishes people. A meal that is just plain fun! Spending extended time with people I love. Ignoring the typical American hurry of a busy life.

I’ve been married seven years, but I’ve never cooked a turkey. I know. It’s a little shameful. Does it make any difference that I lived in India for two of those years and it was nearly impossible to get turkey? (And, if I had gotten one there, it probably would have been barely dead warm instead of frozen and I’m just not that brave.)

Some of my largest Thanksgivings were in India, where every American we knew within 100 miles would descend upon our city and we’d come together like family. I want our family to be like that — about welcoming others into the fold.

This year — our first in the Northwest — Thanksgiving is coming to us. We’ll celebrate on that day with Harry’s parents, and have a bonus round on Saturday with our small group “family.” Here’s the thing, as only children without children of our own who live several states away from our biological families, we’ve had to embrace a lot of non-traditional definitions of family.

I may be from the South, but Harry is normally the confident-cooking-explorer of our family of two. I love to prepare meals for people I love, but you won’t find me excited about the challenge of running out of milk at the last minute. Or cooking without a recipe. Nope.

But, I’m happy to let Harry take the reins and give me direction. (And, by happy, I mean: arguing the whole time.)

This year, I’m determined to check this rite of passage off my list. I will not be beaten by the turkey. (Does it still count if I tore a recipe out of Real Simple that cuts the bird into pieces before roasting and that I’ll probably have Harry do the cutting?)

I’m also determined to enjoy the blessings God is giving me. The sweetness of life I sometime miss. There are some blessings that remain the same whether I’m in an easy season or a hard one. God’s grace. His faithfulness. The gift of redemption. And, then, there are the seasonal ones.

3 Replies to “Growing up”

  1. I am in awe of you. I have been married 10 years, and I have yet to challenge myself to cook a turkey. I’m doing good just to get a decent dinner of the table every night (and by decent, that means chicken nuggets and sometimes PB&J). I am by no means a cook, but I hope I’m doing better than where I started! I plan to continue to ride the coat tails of my older, wiser, and more experienced family members who know how to do that. I am well aware that one day I will have to cook my own bird. I just hope Clay is out of retail by that time so I have someone to help me read & reread the directions in order to get it right. I can burn just about anything. 🙂 Good luck! I’ll be thinking of you next week. I miss you, sweet friend.

  2. Use an oven bag! It makes it super moist and super easy! Not fancy, but it is definitely yummy.

    I miss you, friend. I’m glad you are finding a place in your new home. Love you lots.

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