Friday, November 27, 2015

thanksgiving at home

This year was my second consecutive year hosting Thanksgiving for our Kentucky family.  It went very well, and I just adore the commotion and love that fills up our home to the very brim for those precious few hours.

Growing up I never expected to host Thanksgiving (or probably any holiday for that matter.)  I never helped my mom cook anything (I never volunteered, and she will admit she was happiest being in control of what happened in the kitchen.)  I never dreamt about making the turkey, baking pies, or thinking up table decor.  I pretty much assumed I would always be a spectator and participant in the feast.

I remember my Aunt Phyllis hosting this event many times.  There were a LOT of cousins in our family so we got our own HUGE table, with the older cousins (the range was from toddler to adult) making sure the younger ones stayed in line.  We did a sit-down, family-style dinner, with everything being passed around.  The dishes were fancy, everything lovely.  I remember hoping I would not drop anything or spill on the white tablecloth.  It was all so beautiful!
With only four grandchildren (so far, with one in a high chair) our kiddo table is tiny and not-so-fancy.  I fully expected Finola to take everything off of this before the meal, and she did.
I remember exactly where the appetizer table was, because I was constantly grabbing cheese and crackers from it.  This is still my comfort food at yes, my events will always have a cheese and cracker platter!

My mom would always bring her famous fruit salad...a recipe I keep meaning to have her talk me through it so I can write it down. (She cooks completely from memory, so getting her recipes takes some effort!) This year I tried to make her apple pie...and my husband's great grandmother's sweet potato casserole.  There is something really  idea of learning family recipes and passing them down through the generations!

I now like to sit and wonder about the time and effort my Aunt (and others!) went through to host these big family events.  She had four children, yet she always seemed so calm and collected. All the adults did.  But that was the way with my Dad's side.  They all worked together calmly, helping each other prepare the feast. That quintessential, dutiful Midwestern work ethic.  Things were quite formal...until after dinner and they started playing cards.  Then things got loud and fun! :D

I wonder what my kids will remember of our family events.  Thanksgiving at our home, then Christmas at each of the grandparents (all three sets this year!)   I love that we are in the midst of establishing traditions.  Different than what I grew up with...yet in many ways the same.  A delicate and joyful blending of both my Minnesota upbringing, and my husband's in Kentucky.

I wonder what dish Cormac and Finola will think of as "mine."  What will they someday ask me for the recipe of?  (I assure you, I will have it meticulously detailed on a recipe card.  We all have our ways.)

So, I never did imagine these things growing up - too busy exploring every corner of my relatives/ homes and stealing more cheese from the app table...but as I watch my tiny family grow, and our extended families get larger, I realize we are in the midst of it - creating memories and traditions for our children.

I am grateful to open our home and host.  It might not be perfect, heaven knows there is always some "Turkey Drama," but still, we are all be together, sharing in the imperfection.
layering the sweet potatoes for the casserole.  this is by far my favorite dish!  
ready to bake.
the "adult" table
Thank you, Lord, for family, friends, and all things beautiful in this life You give us.  And thank you for the not-so-beautiful, we can appreciate the rest all the more.

Happy Thanksgiving!