When you begin to enter into the "Empty Nest" time of life, you have more time to sit back and remember Thanksgiving pasts.
The earliest Thanksgiving I remember was at my Grandmother's house. I'm sure I was younger than 5. I remember pieces of sitting at the kids table in the kitchen and all of my cousins and aunts and uncles were there. I remember vague things like carrot raisin salad...ick! And foreign things like cheesecake and carrot cake which I thought sounded equally disgusting and wouldn't try any of it. Silly me! I remember my aunts and uncles playing dominos, which I never could understand and my Aunt Vonciele would play Yatzee with me. Knowing the family dynamics now, I'm sure there was lots of fighting and bickering but at the time I thought we all loved each other and had a great time.
I don't specifically remember too many Thanksgivings through the rest of my growing up years here in Colorado. I remember a couple of Thanksgivings alone when my mom went down to Farmington and I stayed home because of my job. Not fun.
Fast forward to 1982! I met Ches and we decided sometime around November 20th that we would get married December 19th. Mind you, we'd known each other for 4 months and we were 18, of course we knew what we were doing!! Well, we happily broke the news to his family first on Thanksgiving Day: picture a beautifully set table at Brad and Debbie's house. The table FILLED with all of Ches' Italian Uncles drinking wine and telling "risque" jokes! I specifically remember Uncle Frank...I think he was the only person to say congratulations. The rest of them looked a bit worried. My mom just cried and wondered if we were pregnant. Nope, just impulsive.
I had a horrible Thanksgiving the next year. Took Christopher and went out to Thanksgiving Dinner at a local restaurant. That year sucked. Nothing else to say.
Since then every year has been special and wonderful. 1986 I prepared the Thanksgiving meal. I had just had Casey and was pregnant with Dannon but didn't know it yet. Maybe that's why I cried the whole day. Plus, I thought I'd make an improvement on the traditional Thanksgiving meal and have Turkey Tetrazzini and Strawberry Crepes instead of boring Turkey and Stuffing and Mashed Potatos. Ches' family is so sweet and patient. Gary sweetly went to buy more noodles when I undercooked them, Shannon just smiled and held Casey, Grandma Marion patiently held her tongue and Grandpa Selby just brought a bag of Snickers for us to snack on.
Since then, I've hosted Thanksgiving's where I made everyone eat Pumpkin Soup and, the year I became a vegetarian, we all had some fake turkey stuff and all the side dishes were free of any animal products. Once again, I marvel at the patience of Grandpa Gary!
Memories I hope my girls take from our Thanksgivings are: Aunt Shannon coming over and bringing a box of wine. She didn't drink that much but she couldn't cook and that was her contribution to every holiday. She often said she wanted to build a custom home with no kitchen in it as that would make her feel even less guilty.
I hope they remember all those years that we had to write down what we were thankful for. I know they think it was corny, but I love to go back and re-read their thankfulness for their family and their relationship with God. Just gives me warm fuzzies! And waiting to eat at Grandma Marion's until we were all about to fall over with starvation. Aunt Shannon always wanting to sit at the kids table. And the DiDonato's playing poker all evening!
I hope they remember the Thanksgiving Spirit we shared when we served breakfast at the park on Thanksgiving Morning or brought home random homeless guys to spend the day with us. That's all part of who we are.
....And....this is also who we are! The introduction of boys to my family! Yes, they had their very own turkey!
Well, this year I had the pleasure of passing on the "Hostess Mantle" to Casey. Who promptly handed it over to Michael.
It's amazing how little I had to buy this year! That was nice! Not like the usual 17 bags of groceries!
Michael did a marvelous job!! He prepared everything with the help of Paula Deene and other famous chefs. Notice the laptop in the background!!
Casey critiqued my cooking abilities. Looks like Ches didn't have much to say, tho. Good boy!
Casey and Shelby were a great help in the kitchen....
The table was beautiful. Michael and Casey did a wonderful job. We ended the night with an infamous "Friend's Thanksgiving Episode" and then Ches and I took a few plates of leftovers home.
I'm so thankful for my family. For families to take care of my Mike and Dannon. For having grown girls that can carry on family traditions and begin their own. It's fun to look back at where we've been, and more fun to anticipate what's to come.