Memories are Forever
Thanksgiving was always a big deal in our house. We started talking about it in October.
Back then the men all hunted while the women cooked and we all would meet at our parents house, all with the special dishes we prepared and make jokes about previous years dinners when the rolls were burnt, the casserole dish that someone forgot to put salt in and everyone was passing the salt shaker like crazy, the deviled eggs that were all vinegar and no mayonnaise or other ingredients in it, or the time after three hours of cooking mom forgot to turn the oven on and we had dinner three hours later than scheduled and many more incidents at the time we thought was disastrous, but later it brought tears of laughter to our eyes.
For years, every Thanksgiving this was the ritual. Our parents’ house was so packed it was wall to wall with all the grandkids and family members. At the time it was something we all looked forward to, but also kind of dreaded. It seemed there was always some kind of drama either during the dinner or a few days later someone said something to upset someone. But every year we all went to honor our parents.
Our mother loved Thanksgiving so she could cook and see all her kids and grandkids even though it was very stressful sometimes, she also was glad to get to spend daughter time with her girls. Our father loved having all his sons and grandsons to hunt with. We never ever thought of not going.
It was a tradition and traditions meant more to our parents than us having our feelings or egos bruised once a year. As our parents got older and couldn’t hunt and cook, they took turn each year going to each child’s house and enjoying dinner with them. At first, it was fun watching our parents trying to go to 2-3 houses on Thanksgiving, then other siblings started going to their grown children and others went to their in-laws and before we know it, I was taking dinner to mom, since dad had passed on.
For years I took Thanksgiving dinner to her because she didn’t feel like getting out in the cold. I missed my parents at our table, but as my family grew it was so much hustle and bustle it was like an automatic thing that one of my kids would take her dinner for me so I could clean the kitchen.
It’s been years since I have got to spend a Thanksgiving dinner with my parents, and I realized now how precious those dinners were. I looked at the clock and decided I needed to quit going down memory lane and get my dinner finished because all my kids were going to be here for dinner soon and the excitement had me humming loudly.
I loved my kids and grandchildren being around me, now I knew how mom felt and this was the first one we all could be together for a while due to their busy schedules.
Dinner was a fun time with everyone, and we all were laughing and talking a mile per minute. We were half-way through dinner when one of my kids said they missed grandma being there for dinner. We all in unison agreed and started reminiscing about some of the funny things mom would do.
Everyone had a funny story to tell and without knowing I had tears running down my face from missing her. It was contagious before I knew, we are were crying and laughing at the same time. I spoke up and said mom wouldn’t want us to be sad, she would be happy we were remembering her and missing her, that would be enough for her.
Every year she had her picture done at the Fire Dept. to support the local Fire Dept. I no sooner got the words out of my mouth and her picture on the wall fell. The silence in the room was the quietest I ever seen all my kids in the same room ever been. I slowly got up walked over, picked up the picture. The glass had broken and as I took the picture out of the frame, I notice on the back she had signed the picture before she gave it to me, I never noticed because I had never had it out of the frame.
The writing said —
To my baby girl, I’ll always love and watch over you, remember the good and bad times, that is what life is about.
Now we all had tears flowing and the children all gathered around in a group hug and said, “That’s our grandma!”
Remember Thanksgiving with an open heart and make memories for others to share and remember when you are gone.