Thanksgiving is one week away, but today our Friday guest reminds us of the memories that can be created during this special holiday. Bringing us this reminder is a writer whose words paint poignant and emotional stories, a writer who cares about others, a writer who has given her community a gift as she shares her personal journey through motherhood. Today’s guest is none other than Nichole from In These Small Moments. We are honored that she is here today.
She carefully laid out the tools she would need for the morning.
Her to-do list was written in the loveliest handwriting I’ve ever seen.
From the pre-dawn darkness of my bedroom, I could hear her alarm sound, cueing her to wake and put the turkey in the oven. I would roll over, resettle, and dream of the day ahead.
When I finally stumbled to the kitchen, she was on her second pot of coffee, the butcher-block counter top laid out with serving dishes, freshly washed china, and sparkling crystal.
With hours of her day already behind her, she moved through culinary choreography that I still marvel at.
Potatoes, peeled and soaking, green beans, trimmed and sitting in ice water, butternut squash, cubed and ready to boil, turkey, infusing the air.
There was beauty in her movements…a grace that I will never forget.
Pies, from chocolate cream to pumpkin, were prepared and waiting.
As I picked through the mixed nuts, still safe in their shells, choosing the almonds and cracking them open with the nutcracker used only on holidays, I marveled at the way she glided through the kitchen…how she knew exactly how to execute this feast.
How she knew who to seat where…how to coordinate it all so each dish was warm when placed on the table.
One of the greatest gifts she gave me was our holiday meals.
When my daughter Katie was born, I made my lists, consulted my mother, and dreamed of Katie seeing me the way I had seen my own mother.
And I began in those pre-dawn hours, list in hand, and dreams in my heart of giving Katie the same experience that I had.
My ingredients surrounded me, my to-do list written in a hand not nearly as elegant as my mother’s.
Potatoes, squash, green beans, carrots, sweet potatoes, stuffing, turkey, pickles…the dishes were endless, as my mother’s had always been.
I clamored in my kitchen, pots and serving dishes on every available surface, my to-do list growing more soiled with each passing moment.
Wiping my sweaty brow, I cleaned spills and mishaps. My choreography clumsy, my frustration growing.
I spent hours in the kitchen, trying to recreate what my mother had given me.
Katie played on a blanket in the living room, exploring her baby toes and cooing at the world around her, while I spent my day in the kitchen, desperately trying to recreate something that my mother had done so effortlessly.
Sleeves pulled up, carrot peels stuck to every surface, and dishes all around me, I realized that what I had to offer Katie might look different than what my mother had given me.
And in the years since, I have come to accept that turkey and a handful of side dishes, compared to my mother’s glorious feast, is enough.
The mother that I am to my children is enough.
It isn’t about the food.
My mother loved me and showed me in a way that I can only marvel at.
In the warm glow of her kitchen, she taught me about love…about memories.
And now, over a carefully chosen, albeit much smaller meal, I hope I’m accomplishing the same thing with my children.
It is my greatest wish that they grow up associating Thanksgiving with love, just as I do.