Canadian Thanksgiving is nearly upon me.
I say “me” because we all know who is at least planning the whole tumult, if not also cooking it. The Mom of the family is the one who is normally stuck with this task in most households. Newsflash, the only reason we do this herculean labour of love is because having a table load of loved ones is the reward. We don’t actually relish jamming our arms to the elbow in a bird’s ass and digging out innards. And what it with that neck? Pure smut.
I have long considered Thanksgiving weekend to be the perfect time to plan what I really care about: Halloween. Candy and no dishes. How does it get better than that?
Confession: I have been resisting making plans for a big meal at our house. This year my first born is far way at University and not gracing my table. It is also the Thanksgiving meal without my mother. She passed last Spring and we are in that raw year where you have to do all the “firsts”, and really notice the absence of the one you lost.
Over the years, if I was making a turkey, it had never been without coaching and supervision. My Mother would put her magic hands or wooden spoon in a dish, and give it a passing grade, or fix it. To be fair, I am perfectly capable of making a damned bird, but I am starting to realize I don’t want to. Even armed with her hand written recipe for stuffing.
It became clear that I was avoiding the full day of cooking and sweating for what amounted to a grand total of fifteen minutes of gorging. I just don’t have the fortitude I used to. I switched from “the more the merrier” to “what’s the point?”.
I started sniffing around for invitations, but then I noticed that most of my friends are at the same stage I am, reluctant to haul a slimy carcass out of the fridge at 5am to prep it, and they are tired. So tired.
Facing the potential inevitability of no stuffing or cranberry sauce, my husband offered to do the big cook. He promised to follow my Mother’s recipe like a road map. Sweet man.
It is so much more than not wanting to be on my feet. It is about the empty chairs at the table, and the loss of motivation caused by it. If Mom had been over with her coupons for parsnips and pumpkin pie, I might have rallied. If my daughter was coming, I would for sure have rolled out the red carpet.
Then, the other day as I was gnawing on my stress about a stupid turkey, I got a visit from my Mother’s widower. He wondered if I might like him to pick up a freshly cooked, hot from the over turkey and bring it over on Thanksgiving? He wanted to save me the work so we could have a nice dinner without burning out the Mom.
I had forgotten that this meal, this holiday isn’t just about me and my little tantrum. Others want to sit at the table together because then the empty chairs don’t hurt so much.
I am giving thanks after all.