Reflection of This Year

I have been trying to look to days passed as this year nears its end.  I want to take the time remember all that has happened this year.  At times, this can be a tedious task; like thumbing through file after file in a room as big as a warehouse, filled with boxes that are not labeled.  Which ones contain the memories of this year?

Time seems to disorganize such things as we get older and busier, especially if one has children.  Children, and their super-charged growth, superhuman reserves of energy, and infinite curiosity.  This is all I remember, for the most part.

Questions asked and answered.  Breakfasts, lunches, and dinners made.  Cupcakes baked, birthday’s celebrated, gifts bought and opened in delight.  Little, soft bodies bathed.  Hair combed, brushed and braided.  Bottoms powdered and diapered.  Little bodies clothed.  Lullabies sang, children slumbered, keystrokes, alarm clocks, sunrises and sunsets.

Dishes washed, carpets vacuumed, toilets scrubbed, floors mopped, clothes freshly laundered and put away.  Seasons came and went.

Winter snow for making snowmen.  Spring-time planting of purple mums.  Summer fun in the backyard sprinklers and barbeques were always fun.  Fall came, leaves covered the grass.  My daughter and niece buried in piles of orange, red, green and brown vegetation, laughing as the sun set.  Temperature has grown colder, we tell the kids to stay inside.

Holidays celebrated and family time.  Stories told with laughter.  Arguments over silly things, the stress of daily hassles.  Friends who called for advice, or just to simply think out loud.  Loyalty and freedom, choices that were made.  Bumps and bruises, cuts and scrapes, a whole lot of Bandaids.

This year has brought so many things, I’ll never see again.  A baby boy who learned to walk, a little girl who made her first best friend.  My heart is filled with love, and teary eyed I get.  To think of the days past this year; Ones I hope to never forget.

Take time to reflect on the things, that have happened throughout the year.  Remember the big events as well as the small.  You will never have quite the same year again.

Give Thanks and Have a Coin Toss

This year will be the first year that Ryan and I are hosting a small gathering of family for Thanksgiving.  Last year, I had invited my family over.  I was so excited at the thought of preparing an entire Thanksgiving meal, myself, for the first time.  Everyone ended up having other plans so we didn’t end up making anything at all.

Now that there are going to be some guests over for dinner this year, the worry has set in.  I am a decent cook and I love trying new recipes, but this whole turkey thing scares me.  I have been calling my mom to ask her questions about what I have to do to the turkey to prep it for roasting, and the instructions she gave me were very intimidating.

I’m going to have to reach inside the body cavity of this thing and pull its innards out.  The heart, gizzards, turkey neck and whatever else is in there.  I don’t think I can do it!  Well, I can of course, but I really don’t want to – not that part! I handle raw meat all the time, but I’ve never made anything I had to pull organs from.  The thought of this disgusts me.

In an attempt to get out of having to perform this necessary step, I told Ryan that I would prepare the entire meal myself, and that his only job would be to handle the turkey innards extraction portion.  He said no way.  It seems he wants to do it even less than I do.  I have been trying to barter with him about it all day.  I think I’m getting close to having him agree on having a coin toss to decide who has to tackle this chore.  We’ll see.  If the coin toss idea doesn’t work, perhaps I can think of some other type of incentive.

Aside from the anxiety over the turkey, I think the rest should be fairly simple.  Since our gathering will be small, I am not getting too crazy with side dishes.  I think I’ll settle with the basics; Mashed potatoes, cornbread stuffing for the turkey, homemade dressing as a side (a family recipe), a big pot homemade noodles (also a family recipe), dinner rolls, and a green bean casserole (that my sister is bringing). My mom always made two dressings; the regular and an oyster dressing.  She also made sweet potatoes (but I don’t like those), and cranberry salad (which was good, but I still don’t favor it).  Because of those reasons, I won’t be making those items.

There is this pumpkin pie crunch recipe I came across in October that I’ve been dying to make.  I considered getting the ingredients to make it for Thanksgiving, but I decided against it.  I think I have enough work ahead of me already, especially since this is my first attempt at preparing everything myself.  My dad is bringing some pies.

I remember all those years I watched my grandma and mom wake up early and slave away in the kitchen while the men sat around drinking beer and watching football.  The kitchen counters were always covered with pot holders and ingredients, and it was always hot in the house since the oven had been on all morning.  Since there was only one oven with two racks, mom would have to push things around to squeeze a dish in around the turkey.  It was like a jigsaw puzzle of food.  I am going to have to come up with a game plan on how this is going to go when I cook this feast as well.  My guess is that the turkey must go in first and I’ll prep the rest as that cooks.

It is going to be crazy.  I have seen how crazy it was for my grandmother and mother.  It’s like there was all this time, preparation, sweat, and work put into this feast and we were all so excited to finally sit down and eat.  We would eat until we were stuffed and carry on with whatever we were doing before while the same people who spent days and hours prepping and cooking were back in the kitchen doing dishes, putting food away, and cleaning up everyone’s mess.  Thinking back, I don’t think we gave the women (mom and grandma) enough credit for things such as Thanksgiving dinner.

I know the point of Thanksgiving is to give thanks, but remember that it’s not just for the food.  Remember to give thanks to all those who took the time, put in the hard work and made the feast that you are thankful for.  These people put in a lot of work to make sure everyone can sit down together and feast on some, hopefully, excellent food.

Only two days to go!  Have a great Thanksgiving everyone.  If this is your first time preparing this feast yourself,  good luck to you!  As for me, I’m going to get Ryan to have a coin toss now.