I am posting this blog at 2 a.m. on November 29, after just this minute washing the last wine glass and running the dishwasher for the third time, following a wonderful Thanksgiving meal. I had every intention of writing earlier in the day, but apparently my time management isn’t what I’d hoped it would be. Certainly, it can’t compare to what Mother’s was when she used to navigate big holiday meals.
As I took a moment to reflect about Mom and our family tonight (ok, this morning) after everyone had gone to bed, I was once again stumped by the same question I have often asked myself throughout the years “How did she do it?” Seriously, how?
Any day of the week with ten children must have been a challenge but holiday meals in particular surely were insane. Yet, I always seem to recall things happening on time and with Mother fully in control in the kitchen…..and always wearing that beautiful smile of hers.
As the youngest, what I remember most about Thanksgiving holidays was waiting for my older siblings to come home. Joe in his “Jolly Green Giant” car from Michigan, which was forever breaking down and Bill in a similarly challenged VW Van travelling from Kent. (For heaven’s sake, did no one have a working vehicle?) I remember Mike’s friends waiting for him to go out the nanosecond he arrived home from college but having to continue to wait because, interestingly, mother had work (like laundry or ironing) for him to do the very same nanosecond he arrived home as well….and the guys would just hang out and watch while he ironed.
I also vividly remember the quiet sadness that would fill the house when the older siblings would go home or back to school at the end of a holiday weekend, even with five or six children still left behind. It was palpable. It was one of the rare times Mother could be witnessed without that warm smile.
And who could forget Dad trying to outsmart the telephone company, while we waited for word of safe return from those on their return travels? Sadly, I know there was one time where I did not fully grasp the nuances of the “collect from ...” code as early as I should have.
OPERATOR: I have a collect call from – please state your name.
SUSAN: Janie is that you?
OPERATOR: Ma’am, do you accept the charges?
SUSAN: What? Janie is that you?
DAD: Susie, give me the phone! Jane you say? Hmmmm, no, I don't believe we know anyone by that name. We will not accept the charges.
Oh yeah, Ma Bell had no idea.
Of course there are many other stories, but these are just a few recollections in the early morning hours that remind me why I am so thankful today – and every day – to be from such a wonderful family.
Happy Thanksgiving - even if it is a little late.