I think it's because this day has nothing to do with buying gifts or paying money to go and see something. No, this day is 100% about family. It is about the honor of preparing all of our family's most favorite traditional foods and then watching the smiles on the faces of the people I love as they begin to taste each bite.
I. LOVE. THAT. FEELING.
I love planning a menu (that does not change much from year to year) and then shopping to make sure I have each and every ingredient to make each item just how they like it. I love the night before Thanksgiving, getting to check things off my Prep List and filling my fridge with things in the order of when they need to be pulled out the next morning.
I love making my oven schedule about when each thing goes in and when each thing is ready to come out, cooked to perfection.
I love getting up when the house is dark and quiet to put that lovely bird in the oven and then opening that oven up every 45 minutes to baste that guy with a little Cajun love.
And I absolutely love setting the table. I set the table for dinner every single day...just ask the boys... but today is different. Today we use ALL the dishes. And today, for the first time, I get to serve "Kevin" (yes, that is what Corrie named our bird) on the FAMILY TURKEY PLATTER. It's been at my parents' house for years and years, but when we moved Dad to College Station this summer, the platter got to come home with me. I cannot wait to put "Kevin" on it.
And today, I love the fact that in our family we have TWELVE people and today, at at my Thanksgiving table, I will have TWELVE seats. Everyone is here. No one is missing.
Yes, our hearts ache for the physical absence of my mom, but man, she is here.
She is here in my kitchen and at our table. She is here in my "Thanksgiving instruction sheet" she sent me 16 years ago as I prepared to make my first real Turkey dinner. And even though I know by heart how to make all the parts to this amazing meal, I still pull this page out and refer to it every single year. She was here last night as J, Campbell, Jess, Corrie, and I gathered in the kitchen to boil the giblets, chop the veggies, and bake the cornbread (and drink the wine!). She. is. here.
So today, when I think about what I am most thankful for.... well, I am thankful for 12 seats.... 12 FILLED seats and the fact that today, on this one day out of our crazy busy lives, life is just as it should be.
Happy Thanksgiving from the Crazy 12.
I hope you are as blessed today as I am.