Last week I was reading a memoir by a food writer. She has written many cook books and countless articles about food, chefs and cooking. In her memoir, she talked about the time she found herself cooking her first Thanksgiving turkey. Everything was fine until she went to put it in the oven and she discovered that her oven had no roast setting. Oh it had bake and broil, but no roast. What was she to do?
After reading that, I didn't feel so bad about my own upcoming adventures with turkey roasting. At least I had roasted a chicken before, on bake, in my oven. I just had never done a turkey. Especially not for 2 seasoned veterans who have done lots of turkeys and know just how they should taste. That's right, the moms were coming to Thanksgiving dinner at my house.
Actually, I was really excited. (except about the turkey) We've never hosted a holiday. We've never had both sides of our family together (ah, the bliss of not dashing back and forth between 2 houses with 3 kids in tow) and we finally have the room to do it. More than anything, I wanted to make the day really special for the kids. So we spent a lot of time getting ready. We made napkins and place cards, decorations of all sorts, washed the windows and scrubbed the front porch. The boys helped with all of this and thought it was great fun. We talked about how wonderful it was that our house would be filled with the people we love best and that getting ready for them showed them how important they all are to us. We made a lot of memories just in the getting ready for Thanksgiving. I love that.
On Thursday morning, Lilly watched me get the turkey ready for the oven, and James helped me baste it. I plan on teaching them how to roast a turkey long before they are 32 years old. I'm not a huge fan of raw meat, but I didn't even gag when I had to stick my hand in the turkey's rear end to find those giblets. And, about 3 and a half hours later, that bird looked really good. (Except for that hole I tore in the skin while trying to rub butter under it. I am posting this picture so I don't get too prideful about my first turkey) Mom E. showed me her gravy secrets and how to carve the bird, and then it was time to eat.
My favorite part of the day was when we all stood around the table and held hands to pray. I looked around the room that was filled with people I love and I wanted to cry. James and Cora added levity to the sentimental moment by rolling on the floor and laughing during the prayer. You can always count on those 2 for trouble. They make me laugh. And whether laughing or crying, I know I am so blessed. For lack of a better term, it felt like a grown-up moment. In a way, it was our first Thanksgiving. And it was a pretty good one.
At the end of the day, an exhausted James said as he waved goodbye to cousins and grandparents, "Mommy, I wish it was Thanksgiving every day." I think James is going to remember this Thanksgiving. Me too.
Here are some photos of the day, and some other things I really want to remember:
Yes, I was there, but a hostess never gets pictures of herself. These are the napkins I made.
Lilly and Lizzy's first Thanksgiving. Game time was a bit much for them.
Cousins, William and Scotty
James loved the place cards. He thinks we should use them every day.
Lilly and her Nana.
The kids only wanted to get green gelato (jello) and rolls.
Lilly with her Granny and Dziadzi.
Aaron drew turkeys for the kids to color on the kids table.
We had to put the single guys at the kids table.
We wanted them to experience thankfulness for their child free dinners at home.
Uncle B finally works up the nerve to hold his new niece. Also, Uncle B gave Lilly her first taste of real food--cranberries. Great, something with lots of sugar. Thanks, Uncle B.
The glitter pumpkins and all the other glittery stuff ended up all over everyone.
Ben was especially pleased with the way his arms sparkled.
Thank you everyone for coming, for making the long drive, for making yummy food, and for making it a great day. I hope we can get together again soon to play Catchphrase, because I haven't laughed that hard in a long time.