There are many downfalls to living 1000 miles away from your family like I do. And not surprisingly, the biggest downfall is the Holidays without them. Forrest and I have been lucky enough to travel home during some holidays, but we always stay in DC for Thanksgiving. And Thanksgiving is a hard holiday to be away from home. I miss decorating the table at my parents' house, I miss waking up early and watching the Macy's Parade with the other early risers, I miss my niece and nephew's expressions as they sit down to their pint sized table we have set especially for them, I miss the annual Kris Kringle name pull after dinner, and I miss my Daddy's annual declaration of "You really outdid yourself this year, Momma!" But the one thing I miss most every Thanksgiving away from home is- my Momma. She is an amazing creature in the kitchen and Thanksgiving is one of her times to shine. She cooks every single dish we eat including the turkey and does it all without a single recipe. She doesn't get stressed, she doesn't appear flustered, and she always has it ready right on time. The menu remains the same each year, but the dishes are deliciously consistent. Every year you know what you are about to experience as you settle down to the table with your overflowing plate. I admire her composure and her ability to perform what she so aptly defined once as "mommering". Mommering is the ability in any situation to do something that seems superhuman. It is that admirable quality to swoop in during what seems to be some of the most hectic situations and gain immediate control. The ability to put the metaphoric band-aid on any problem. But you can only posses these powers if you are in fact a momma - and that I am not!
So as I prepped for my first big Thanksgiving dinner I am cooking alone, I called my mom several times in order for her to execute a little mommering. She guided me through prepping the turkey - telling me to calm down or I would have a stroke (I am not nearly as calm or composed as my dear mother). She helped me determine cooking times and schedules for my dishes and she listened as I revealed every single miniscule detail from my recipes to my supermarket excursions.
As I sit here on this Thanksgiving-Eve I can't help but feel a little saddened. Saddened by the fact that I will not wake up tomorrow and stumble into the kitchen to find my mother in her red striped apron, chopping away, listening to country music, and trying to convince my Daddy to join her for a glass of wine.
It seems very fitting to finish my Turkey Day Trouble Installments off by talking about my mother. She is, after all, the person who inspired this recurring series. I wanted to share a couple pictures of this precious turkey shaped butter I picked up today at the grocery. What does this bird butter have to do with my mother? Well nothing really, except for the fact that as I placed it in my basket I couldn't help but think how ridiculous she would have told me I was being for buying butter shaped like poultry that cost twice as much as a pound of regular butter. She is very practical (I guess that is a good counterpart to "calm and in control") and she would have laughed at my extravagance. But it was too cute to pass up!
I also included some pics of my table setting from my last Thanksgiving in New Orleans:
And my table setting for my Thanksgiving Dinner Tomorrow (a much smaller table, much more cramped):