We are preparing. All of us. It’s just four days away and we’re getting ready.
The turkey is defrosting in the refrigerator, assignments have been given, grocery list has been prepared and items checked off one by one. To-do lists are being written and phone calls exchanged. . . Can you do this? Do you have that? Piece by piece. . . we are getting it done.
It’s Thanksgiving Dinner.
Turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, rolls, peas (for color, she always said), and of course. . . dessert.
I am checking and rechecking. Do I have everything? When should this be made? When should that be prepared? How long will this take? What about that?
I have fretted, feared, felt over-whelmed, and even shed tears over the laminated recipe she gave me several years ago. . . anticipating our first Thanksgiving without my Mom. Each year she has prepared it and we have been mostly spectators and consumers. This year. . . we are doing the leg work. A phone call to my Dad and several to my sister have calmed some of my fears. . . it will all come together. . . no need to worry, we are all working on it together. . . if we don’t get it right, it will be okay. . . we will try again next time.
For each of my 32 years we have had this meal on what is one of my favorite holidays. Is this really a big deal, you ask? Yes, it is to me. . . it is her meal. . . I want to do it right.
But even as I write this. . . or maybe because I write this, I am struck with the reality that it is what it is. . . it is a meal. We may make it “just like Mom”, we may mess it up, or it may have a flavor that is just a little different. What is most important is the “we”.
We will be together. We will rally. We are ralliers. (I think I just made that word up.)
I know this about my family because we did just that this weekend. . .
At the zoo.
In 40-some degree temperatures.
It was my nephews birthday and what else would any 6 year old want to do but go to the zoo? Let me tell you Friends, it was cold.
Are you supposed to wear hats and gloves to the zoo?
And, hey, while we’re at it. . . why not have a picnic, too.
A birthday isn’t a birthday without cake. . . or cupcakes.
Sometimes we rally small (the zoo on a cold day) and sometimes we rally big (our first Thanksgiving in the midst of loss). In four days I know I will sit around a table with people that I love deeply. I am certain that I will feel a mix of emotions that will include both sadness and joy.
The most prominent emotion, though? That will be thankfulness. Because if this year has taught me nothing else it has taught me that this life. . .these people. . . this breath in my lungs is nothing to take for granted. Despite loss and heartache and disappointment I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I am blessed.
Yeah, we are ralliers.