In the 70’s, I brought to my mother’s Thanksgiving table my awkward teenage body, my love of sweet potatoes with mini marshmallows on top, an awe of my older, highly accomplished cousins, and a keen disdain for my mother.
In the 80’s, things changed a lot. First, I brought to my mother’s Thanksgiving table a huge attitude because no one paid attention to me. Then I brought a new husband who my mother seemed to like even more than she liked me. Later, I brought a new baby, and then really, no one paid attention to me.
In the 90’s I brought to my mother’s Thanksgiving table three little kids, freshly scrubbed and dressed, and a yellow lab puppy that knocked the turkey carcass off the counter and made a mess.
In the 2000’s, I brought the Thanksgiving table to my home. I brought in my family- whoever could come. My mother and father and grandmother joined us. Then just my mother and grandmother. Then just my mother. And now she is gone too.
New jobs, new lives, new illnesses, new deaths. Thanksgiving marks time, no matter how old you are, or how many blessing you have.
In 2016, I bring to my Thanksgiving table…
A table scape that would make my mother proud.
The knowledge that I am stronger, simply because I have survived a year of a mastectomy, chemotherapy, radiation, and reconstruction.
The awkwardness of two new breasts.
The energy and desire to move on.
My inability to understand any friend who voted for Donald Trump.
A new recipe for homemade cranberry sauce.
A distrust of gluten free desserts.
A healthy dose of sarcasm.
A roasted kosher turkey (in honor of my mother) and second turkey-a deep fried one, just because my husband wants one.
The memories of all of those in my family that have died in November—my mother, my father, my sister in law, two uncles.
The pride of a mother who has raised three fine children.
Pride in my silver hair.
The weight of five extra pounds (I’m working toward the Trump 10)
A lingering anxiety about the state of the world.
The hope that this election has not knocked out my sense of humor forever.
New wine glasses, and lots of wine.
The requirement that everyone bring one joke to Thanksgiving dinner….or no dessert
The tradition of “family shot” before the guests arrive
The anticipation that someday, my Thanksgiving table will grow again.
The realization that this may be my last Thanksgiving in my home that I love so very much.
What kinds of things are you bringing to your Thanksgiving tables this year?