Oh things sneak up on you, don’t they? This fall has been crazy in terms of business stuff. I’ve been a mad woman in the fairy food realm, making tiny foods until the wee hours of the night in preparation for the local craft fairs. Nathan and I did a parenting course, encapsulating our parenting methods into a six-week online class. Feeleez has been rocking the house, orders going all over the world and ramping up as we get near the holidays. And we also have a parade of grandparents joining us from now until mid December.
I knew about the grandparents of course, and cleaned the house, and have been looking forward to their visits beyond belief. I love grandparent visits because our girls have days and days of bliss as they enjoy the company of more people who love them and also the special delights like dinners out and movie matinees. So of course I knew Nathan’s parents were joining us for Thanksgiving.
But it wasn’t until the day before Thanksgiving that I realized I was COOKING A FULL COURSE TURKEY DINNER FOR MY INLAWS. Oh my.
I’ve never been the captain of a Thanksgiving before. Leading up I was thinking – mashed potatoes? - No problem. Biscuits? - Piece of cake. Pumpkin pie? - Nathan will do that. Salad? - My specialty. I sort of glossed over the turkey part. After all my mother-in-law is a turkey pro having cooked the holiday meal hundreds of times and I figured it would sort of come together organically.
Slowly but surely it sunk in.
It is my kitchen. My mother-in-law would help me, she’d do anything I asked because she loves me and loves to help, but she wasn’t going to be running the show. She’s done enough of that to last two lifetimes. It was my turn. It was going to be me setting an alarm to put a bird in the oven. (If that’s even what one does.) It was going to be me deciding to brine or not to brine. (If that’s even what one does.) I didn’t know because I’d never done this before.
Thank god for google.
And I did it. I made a damn fine bird.
It was perfect really, not only the meat but the whole experience. Nathan’s mom sat at the counter and cheered. She answered my questions kindly and with tact. She was a well of information to tap when I needed it. And finally I understood why so many people love Thanksgiving. Aside from the family and the thanks, it’s an opportunity to turn out a feast! It’s a chance to whip and whisk and baste for an entire day. So fun.
It wasn’t until the bird was out of the oven that I realized I had experienced a rite of passage. As we gathered around the turkey Nancy sang out: “My reign has ended!” The baton had been passed. I was a woman.
Okay, I was a woman already. And I was a grownup already too. But somehow when we sat down to the table, Nathan on one end, me at the other, and heaping plates, smiling kids and grandparents between, it became ever more real.
No sweat lodge, vision quests, or dangerous physical feats, but a rite nonetheless.