After a week full of school conferences, snow removal, and asking myself and God "why do I have to be a Pastor's wife?", Wednesday arrived. Wednesday was D-day (fix as much thanksgiving Dinner day as possible so you won't be completely wasted by Thursday evening). Foolishly, in a gray moment, I had invited my father, brother, mother in law, father in law, brother in law, and two aunts for Thanksgiving dinner and all but two accepted. That doesn't count my six plus one (the boyfriend who is much more like a son to us).
So, I had 12 people coming to eat in my little kitchen that will barely hold 8. A dilemma! Thankfully, it's family, who I want to please and love and make feel special and not someone that I feel I need to impress.
Wednesday morning-- four sets of hands:
-one humongous bowl of bread dough
-two chef's knives cutting onion and celery (well, one was cutting, the other was tomahawking, in the Indian/pilgrim tradition)
-one learning to use the can opener and making fruit salad
-one who is now the master at potato peeling, "eye poking" (we have to get them all out! Why? "because they can't swim and we don't want them to see the water coming?"), and chopping (22 for his first try, not bad)
-one cutting two loaves of bread cubes who discovered quickly that you can't tomahawk bread.
-one boiling and peeling two dozen eggs
-one peeling and cutting the yams
-Lunch break and a promised trip to a friend's house for a cup of tea and some play time
-two pumpkin pies, one cherry pie, one apple pie
-and of course, the ceremonial cinnamon rolls made with leftover pie dough. Yum!!!
Thanksgiving Day finally arrives! Up at 7 to put in the turkey. Then the back up arrives. The boyfriend, who is as comfortable in the kitchen as Betty Crocker. I pick his brain the whole time we cook partly because I figure he went through four years of school to learn this stuff, and partly because if there is a food disaster, I don't have to carry the blame all by myself! But with him there, that rarely happens. And the whole time I'm asking him for advice, he is telling me about other people that he cooks with who will never take his advice and then they wonder why it doesn't turn out! Meanwhile two sets of hands in the living room vacuuming and dusting and one set of hands cleaning the bathroom.
Dinner is served, but not before a huge shelf filled with baskets and glass cow figures crashes to the floor, just on a whim, showering the table, floor, and punch bowl with dirt from a potted plant and shards of glass. Oh well, that was small compared to last year's potato disaster, so I'm pleased. After a quick sweep, and some clean punch, we're ready to eat. We squeeze and scoot until everyone is around the tables that extend almost out the sliding glass doors to the deck on one end and almost into the living room on the other, but we made it. My father in law, the patriarch, offers a heartfelt, humble prayer to the One who made this all possible and the chaos begins. Soon everyone has a full plate and as they eat and talk (or yell, you see the one aunt is deaf and you have to yell at her in order for her to hear), I just sat and took a heart snapshot of the whole family, happily eating and laughing and stuffing their faces. I have a lot to thank God for, but nothing so precious as family.
Other heart snapshots from the day:
-the sound of my oldest daughter's giggle in the next room
-my two sons stuffing as many deviled eggs as they could in their mouths
-my youngest daughter asking her deaf aunt "what was your mother's name?" and the aunt replying "I don't know", because she didn't hear what she said and the whole family laying over at the table with laughter
-the look on my youngest daughter's face after beating her aunt at checkers
-the look of complete satisfaction and joy on my husband's face who just for a day did not look totally exhausted.
-my husband's aunt sitting straight up in a chair, sound asleep.
-my two teenage sons curled up on the floor under a blanket on the floor with their now grown sister, just the way they did when they were small.
Yep! I have so much to be thankful for.