Our Thanksgiving was a bit out of the ordinary, like most of yours, I am sure. First of all, it's 2020, so nothing is ordinary. More pertinent, however, this was our first Thanksgiving without my mom. I have never had a Thanksgiving without my mom, except for the year I was living in Spain, when I was 20 years old. Thanksgiving this year, fell exactly 12 weeks to the day after she passed away. It was hard for me, is all I can say.
I had planned to make dinner for the kids and me, but then a few weeks ago, I happened to see an article in The New York Times about all the challenging situations people are facing this year for the holidays. One, faced by many, due to COVID, was the prospect of spending the holiday alone. Immediately I thought of my friend Katie, from high school. Katie lives on her own (which makes her a safe person to have in our bubble, not to mention how sweet she is with my kids). I thought I might take a chance and invite her. I was a bit late to gate with my invitation and knew she would have other invitations, but sent her a text anyway. Shortly after, I heard back from her with a resounding "yes!" We were so excited.
Since we were accustomed to my mom being at the table, I had anticipated it being very empty and sad without her. But with Katie coming, I felt hopeful that our evening would be joy-filled. And that it was!
Katie arrived in the mid-afternoon. We visited and caught for awhile, which was so nice for me. I don't get to see many friends these days, with the lockdown, so having the adult company of a life-long friend is a real treat. After spending some time outside (where it was downright frigid for by LA standards), wrangling everyone for photos, we came back in to the house and lit the fire. Katie settled into the couch with the kids and watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (which we had recorded in the morning). I returned to the kitchen, where I had been for past two days and finished preparing dinner.
We sat down together at the table and enjoyed a lovely dinner. Having Katie there really eased the pain of my mom's absence. We laughed a lot and compared notes of growing up in her house, my house (as a child) and how the my kids are growing up now. I got some great throwback parenting tips from Katie's parents, circa 1975. She told fabulously funny stories about the crazy antics of her three brothers, which amused Catherine. Both Katie and Catherine share the fate of having three brothers and no sisters.
After dinner and the delicious pumpkin pie that Katie brought, we settled in and watched a movie together, with the fire still going, to keep us warm. While I was cleaning up, Katie and the kids came to the consensus of Home Alone. I was game for that. It was perfect! A funny, old-school holiday movie. Katie and I got a kick out of outrageous early 90's home decor and fashion choices. The kids giggled (laughed their heads off is more like it) at all the crazy antics of Macaulay Culkin.
So it may not have been an of an ordinary Thanksgiving, but it could not have been any lovelier.
Garin and Miles makes the cranberry sauce. Graham starting to prep for the stuffing.
Catherine and Graham in full-blown stuffing mode.
Outside, braving the wind and cool temperatures, to take a few family portraits.
Catherine, my princess, looking ever-so-pretty in purple (with fur trim, nonetheless). She was wearing one of my mom's headbands and pearl earrings that belonged to me as a little girl.
Dinner at last!
Miles, with his favorite turkey part - the entire leg! Befitting for the wild child that he is.
The dinner table, with Katie sitting in for my mom. We were so grateful to have her join us and I know that my mom would feel the same. Miles going at it with his giant turkey leg, which he polished off.