Monday, November 26, 2007

I'm Thankful...

that I made it through the first major holiday without my mother.

Seriously, that was a tough one.

I do a gratitude list every morning, coming up with 10 things I am thankful for in my life. They could be major things, like being thankful for good results on a test at the doctors; routine things such as a safe journey for my husband to get to work or small things such as a warm cup of coffee. Some days are more challenging than others and ironically, Thanksgiving was one of those days. Anyone who has lost a close family member or friend knows what I mean. It's hard to be thankful when you only think of what you've lost.
I laid awake Wednesday night thinking of all the things my mom would be doing if she were preparing the meal - and I awoke to the same thoughts the next morning. I thought of all of her recipes - her special cranberry salad (the only way I'll eat them), and her homemade pumpkin pie.
I wished I had her cranberry salad recipe at the ready, but if it exists anywhere but in my memories now, it is still in storage somewhere. I never learned to make her special pie crust. Too busy forging my way in my 20's and most of my 30's, Mom was too weak and frail to even roll it out by the time I showed an interest in learning.
I got my crying done early on Thursday and then I made my mom's lovely whippend sweet potato recipe - the one that turned my husband from a hater of the orange spud to a lover of it.
We then went on to our new tradition of having dinner with my aunt and uncle and some of our neighbors here on the lake.
Perhaps I had a little too much wine, but I realized mid-way through dinner that most of us here were trying to get away from something - the traffic and noise of the city; or the hub-bub and expectations of being with blood relatives.
I realized we were here too, trying to escape the loss we suffered this year, trying to create new memories with refugees who are similar to us. To be with kindred spirits of sorts is something in itself to be thankful for.
And as the dinner went on, and my aunt toasted her "sis," my mom, I realized the old memories aren't bad either. As my writing buddy said, my memories of my mom's heritage recipes will make a great essay to write and sell for next year - and having ideas is always something to be thankful for.


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