For the Record:
The Twenty Fourteen Winter Holidays
The Saturday After Thanksgiving (or TSAT)
Note: Since I am writing this near the end of the last month of the year and my memory is shot, this is really probably only a scant impression, based mostly on how I remember feeling.
Generally speaking preparing for the Winter Holidays can be broken down into two categories. Presents and Food. Well, okay, I admit, that may be the Kardashian view but, come on now, you have to agree that Food and Presents do have a prominent place in the celebration.
Ross and I spent what has become our Traditional Thanksgiving Day cooking for the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Well, that’s because the Saturday after Thanksgiving is when we celebrate our Thanksgiving. And well, that’s because we are at the stage of our life when the “kids” have to split their time between many families. Families who don’t live in the same neighborhood anymore like they used to in the “good” ole days.
So anyhow, (that’s how Ross always gets back to the point of a long story and invariably gets sidetracked), so anyhow, on Thursday, November 27, Thanksgiving Day 2014, I was making meatballs and gravy for the traditional “The Saturday after Thanksgiving” (TSAT) lasagna.
It took us all day. You can’t rush meatballs, gravy and three large pans of lasagna.
At the end of the day I remember feeling tired.
I honestly don’t remember many details of the TSAT day, November 29. I remember that we tried to be ultra organized. We planned on dinner for 2:00. I remember that Jen, Derek, Bella, Ryan, Jackson, Anne and Domani were here on time.
Anne had run the Philadelphia marathon six days before. I remember her kind of limping when she came in. She told me that she had been to the doctor to have a blister or something taken care of. I remember thinking she looked tired.
Even after all of the planning, though, the lasagna wasn’t ready on time.
We didn’t all sit down together at the dinner table. I haven’t been able to figure out how to do that yet. Chaotic is what my impression memory is. Ross getting the gravy, meatballs, parmesan cheese, and drinks on the table while I stood at the counter dishing out the lasagna, plate by plate. The kids pushing the pasta around on their plates, not really interested. Bella asking for more meatballs as she tried to scrape as much of the sauce off of the noodles as she possibly could. Jen and Derek taking turns chasing Jackson so one or the other could sit down and eat.
I recall that Jimmy had to work that day so I knew he and Tara wouldn’t be here until after 3:00. I remember that we were all probably finished eating by the time they came. We were perhaps in the middle of getting coffee and desert on the table. I can picture both of them coming into the dining room, Tara was holding an Edible Arrangement (basket of fruit). I asked if they were hungry. They said yes.
I guess I must of jumped up from my seat, and I must have seemed frantic to get them food, because I remember Jimmy telling me to “Take it easy, Mom.” As I watched Jimmy struggling to finish his lasagna, (I guess he wasn’t that hungry after all), we both had the same thought at the same time. We remembered how Joe loved my lasagna and how he would go back for seconds and sometimes even thirds. And I remember saying quietly to myself, “Oh, my Joe.”
I have noisy after dinner memories of the kids boisterously playing in the spare room, AKA the Toy Room.
And I have a vivid image of 15 month old Jackson toddling round and round, from the kitchen to the living room, down the hallway, back up the hallway, through the living room again and then back into the kitchen. He was followed closely behind by Jen, his arms outstretched in order to keep his balance while his body, bobbing from side to side, tried to keep up with his quick moving tiny feet.
Today, as I write about that day, and as I reflect upon it, I realize that my grief was softened on that TSAT day by a favorite memory. That is the image of us all together, peacefully sitting in front of the fire place, with the full enthusiastic sounds of new lives in the back ground, as we made plans for the traditional “Sunday After Christmas” day or SAC celebration.