This past Sunday I gave each of my daughters a great big hug and watched them drive away. Mackenzie, back to her apartment and job in the city, and Talee, back to college. We’d had a wonderful Thanksgiving week, and I treasured every moment. Talking, laughing, cooking, eating, shopping, cuddling — my girls back in the nest for five glorious days.
It was a different Thanksgiving. Great, just different. Talee’s boyfriend spent a few days with us, which was a lot of fun and nice to get to know him better. And for the first time in many years, we didn’t host the big turkey dinner.
I love to have family over to celebrate Thanksgiving. I set the tables with cranberry-colored tablecloths, the china we received as wedding gifts, and name tags personalized by Talee.
One of my nephews and his wife recently moved and were excited to host their first Thanksgiving in their new home. At first I was hesitant to give up our traditions. Even Mackenzie and Talee wanted to keep it at our house.
But I have to admit, I was intrigued by the thought of not planning, organizing, and cooking the main course. A year off could be nice.
It turned out amazing, and beautiful, and delicious. Forty of us, gathered to celebrate and count our many blessings.
I can’t remember a Thanksgiving when my dad didn’t carve the turkey. At our house, he sits at the kitchen counter and expertly slices, using an electric knife. I’ve watched his technique many times. Each year I think he’s going to say he doesn’t want to do it, but that has never happened. My family has dozens, maybe hundreds, of pictures and videos of Dad cutting the turkey.
I wondered what was going to happen at my nephew’s house. Would Dad step in? It wouldn’t feel right if he didn’t. But maybe it was time.
Not quite yet. My dad wanted to pass the lesson on to my nephew. It made me smile to see them with gloves on, hunched over the bird. Dad was intent on teaching his grandson the proper way to carve. My nephew was unsure of his first attempt. He did great.
I realized at that moment that the torch was being passed. The younger generation learning from the older one. This is how traditions are carried on.
Our family made special memories at the feast last week. I was able to relax, and it felt good just to be in charge of the green bean casserole and homemade macaroni and cheese.
I’m not saying I’ll never host Thanksgiving again. I’m sure I will. And I’m also certain my dad will still offer to carve the turkey, as long as he is able. But life is changing. It’s time.
First image courtesy of here
Second image courtesy of here