Yesterday I baked and set the table with dishes reserved only for holidays and special occasions. We sat at the table, my husband, youngest son, youngest daughter and her husband, and per tradition, each one told in turn what they were thankful for. Then, in less than half an hour, with the food left in ruins, plates empty, and the wine gone, everyone was back in their places watching TV, playing video games, or sitting outside to smoke while I went about finding enough room in the fridge for leftovers.
Today, I have the post turkey day blues.
I am the mother of twelve, Nana of twenty-five. When I was younger and the Nana of only a handful of grandchildren Thanksgiving meant all of the kids were coming home and there would be a couple of days of insanity, food and drink. And I loved every second of the chaos. Thanksgiving then meant no less than thirty people shouting to be heard over the noise, fighting over who was next in the bathroom, and shrieks of laughter as they ribbed, teased and told jokes about one another.
In the kitchen baking a different goodie for each one, I had grandchildren clamoring around to help me cook. I loved this part of the day when I could set grandchildren around the table with a big bowl in the middle, and as I measured ingredients I handed them off to the grandkids and let them add them to the bowl. Each one had a wooden spoon and all of them stirred, which eventually led to a battle of spoons. Usually we baked Toll House chocolate chip-oatmeal cookies and I didn’t care when half the batter wound up being eaten while they waited on the first batch of cookies to come out of the oven. And so what if they needed baths when we finished in order to get the dough out of their hair and off their hands and faces, Nana’s babies made cookies!
In those days there were no leftovers. By the time everyone had been home for a couple of days most of the food had been consumed, but whatever was left went home with my kids. Then the real clean up began! I remember after the last one had left walking back into the house, sitting down and listening to the silence, which seemed louder than the kids had been. The house in complete disarray, every dish either in the sink or in the dish rack, and every piece of furniture out of place.
I smiled as I thought of each one on my way to the bedroom where I climbed into bed to watch TV. I would get up in the morning and begin the clean up because Christmas was only a month away and I would get to do this all over again.
Over the years all of the kids have moved out, gone to college, married or just moved on with their lives. They live all over the place, Washington, California, Texas, Missouri and a couple are in Oklahoma so my Thanksgivings are much more subdued, although the phone rings constantly as they call to wish me a Happy Thanksgiving and each of them always say, “Mom, do you remember when we were all at home that one time and…”
So today is the day after Thanksgiving and Nana has the post turkey day blues.