I grew up with big family Thanksgivings and no one did turkey day better than my Grandma Lupe, for whom this blog is named. I have so many memories of her, the big family table, the china, the bustling about, smells, tastes and voices. Most of the people I loved at those feasts are no longer here, so Thanksgiving is a bittersweet and somewhat surreal experience for me. Now, I am the grandma and it is my grandchildren that come over the day before and get swept up into the hustle and bustle.
My life has taken many twists and turns, including a break from what’s left of my family. It was a good break that took place many years ago after my grandfather died. My sisters and other family members were toxic and bad for my children, so I detached and forged a new life and new vision for myself and my children. I wanted, like most parents, a better life for my kids. It wasn’t easy and was often very lonely, but definitely for the best. Some people can be like a cancer and the only way you can survive as a person is to excise that cancer, pay homage to what you learned from them and then move on.
My decision, while one I do not regret, didn’t allow for the huge family Thanksgivings that I had grown up with. Still, I wanted to give my children a semblance of those past holidays and did it through my medium of food. Big, elaborate, and even artistic dinners happened. We created a Thanksgiving tradition of an open house for those co-workers and friends that were sans familia or couldn’t make it home. I gave them a taste of what I’d had and expanded upon it.
As an empty-nester, I continued my tradition of huge meals with too much food. Sometimes the kids came home, Navy buddies or other friends in tow. There was always enough and they have carried on my tradition far away from home. My oldest son texted me his pride in making a ham and his wife emailed me a photo. I couldn’t be prouder of him. Like my home, theirs are open houses for anyone who wants to stop by and have a meal.
The past few Thanksgivings have been incredibly rough for me. I was ill, seriously ill then unemployed and nearly homeless. Thanks to my children, good friends and freelance work, I always skated on thin ice, but never really fell though. There were no Thanksgiving dinners though, until this year. This year, I have been blessed. I have a full-time job, freelance work, my health again, new and old good friends, an apartment that is a second home to my grandchildren and a fridge full of food. It is time to give thanks.
Thanksgiving this year was quiet. It was just my grandchildren, my friend Sara and myself. I was cooking with a bad shoulder from a boat accident (see future posts), so my granddaughter did a lot of the heavy lifting for which I am immensely grateful. Still, it was like old times and I felt myself again. The hustle and bustle of my grandmother’s kitchen was back, only it was mine and I was the grandmother. The excitement of the children was the same and while we didn’t dress up and sit at a formal table as in my youth, it was no less wonderful.
I am thankful for everything I am, for the trials and for what I have in this moment as it is all the more sweet for the bitter that has passed. Happy Thanksgiving.
*All photos in this post were taken with the LGG2 Smartphone using the 13 megapixel camera on the Verizon network. I am NOT being compensated for this post.
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