11.25.2005

First Thanksgiving

This year was Tembo-Teff's first Thanksgiving ever, and Isaiah's first Thanksgiving dinner that he stayed awake for. (Not that he would try anything but rolls and cranberry sauce....)

And it was my first Thanksgiving as a woman. Or at least as the woman.

Three years ago, Andy and I drove out to Arizona to spend our first Thanksgiving together with my family. We managed to roll in just as they were clearing the table. So I didn't have a whole lot to do with that Thanksgiving dinner.

Our second Thanksgiving, I was exceedingly great with child--er, make that children--and although the doctor gave me permission to sit up for a (short) Thanksgiving dinner, I wasn't allowed to so much as wash a single dish. My family came out, and I lay on the couch busily gestating while Mom did everything.

Last year, my parents and sister and grandparents all came out, and we had a splendid four-generation celebration. That one was a collaborative effort.

But this year, it was just me.

Tim and Rachel came over, bearing yams and pie, and I brined and roasted a turkey, mashed potatoes with cream cheese, made cranberry sauce and fruit salad, baked rolls and made fresh butter in my new bread machine. And defrosted a bag of green beans. (Hey, you can only do so much!)

At the beginning of the week I had all sorts of good intentions about how organized I was going to be. I would do my shopping on Monday, mash the potatoes on Tuesday, make cranberry sauce on Wednesday, and on Thanksgiving Day I would only have to do the turkey and fruit salad. And defrost the beans, of course.

I forgot to reckon on the difficulty of getting anything done with three wuggies underfoot.

Thanks to much help from Mary-Kate Reynolds, I did indeed get the shopping done on Monday. And on Tuesday, I cut up the potatoes. On Wednesday, I started to boil the potatoes, and on Thursday, I threw them out and started all over again.

So yesterday was pretty crazy. I had no idea what I was doing, and I was highly intimidated. I felt utterly incompetent... and yet when all was said and done, I had a tender, moist turkey with a deep, rich gravy, and beautiful dinner rolls with freshly churned butter. The cranberries and fruit salad were respectable, if unremarkable. And let me tell you, I can defrost a mean bag of green beans.

All in all it was quite a confidence-builder. It's funny--most holidays are about rest. We take the day off, we pause our work to remember. But for a woman and a homemaker, Thanksgiving is a day of particularly hard work. While this often winds up being true of most holidays, it's a good and wonderful and essential part of Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is a celebration of her work itself, not just the end result, but the raw materials and the process.

It was a joyous day in the kitchen, yesterday, engaged in the good labor of feeding the family with which God has abundantly blessed us, with the food he has so richly provided.

It is good.

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