Happy Thanksgiving, everybody! I’m flying out to see my parents this afternoon, but wanted to get in one last post before the holiday. Thinking about the best parts of Thanksgiving, what I’m thankful for, and what this day means to me, I kept coming back to the simple luxury of going home. Home. Home, where someone else has made coffee by the time I get up in the morning. Home, where I don’t have to drive anywhere. Home, where the dog and the cat (almost) live in harmony. So inspired was I by this blissful freedom from grown-up responsibility, I just went ahead and called my mom and asked her to write my Thanksgiving post for me.
So that’s what’s going on here.
My girls are coming home for Thanksgiving. With one on each coast and their dad and me in the middle of the country, we just don’t see each other very often these days. So this Thanksgiving there is going to be some serious rejoicing. I’ll try to be cool about it but it won’t matter. Inevitably, The Mom will take over.
Their dad will pick them up at the airport and when they arrive, I will greet them at the door with long sweet hugs, little whispers of blessing, and maybe a cup of Tuaca-spiked hot punch.
When they get to their rooms, the beds will all be freshly made, even if the sheets weren’t dirty to begin with. I will have all the flannel sheets laundered, smelling good and folded nearby, just in case someone wants a cozier bed. The bathrooms will shine, the towels hang with corners precisely matched.
Then they’ll make their way to the kitchen, wondering what they will find. The shopping will be done. The bar fridge will be stocked with 17 different beverages from Coronas to Diet Coke. The fruit bowl will be full, the cheese drawer and freezer overflowing with goodies. The holiday baking complete, there will be pies cooling on the counters and pumpkin bread wrapped in foil. The cooking will have started, specifically onions and garlic and celery sweating in a butter bath. I might use it for stuffing later. But it might just be for the smell of it all.
The mistress of illusions, I will have plumped all pillows, fluffed all rugs, dusted, vacuumed, scrubbed and polished. The house will shine; nay, it will glow. The spice-scented candles will be lit exactly one hour before they arrive, ensuring a warm but not overpowering aroma. The lamps will be on, but no overhead lights, even in the bedrooms. There might be some very soft classical music but I’m still debating between Bach’s Brandenburg concertos or a little heady Mahler. The dog will be bathed, and the cat will be wearing a new pink collar. I will be wearing the jeans that do not offend their sense of style and anything but a holiday sweater. And into this dream my world-weary children will return.
Someday, they will remember this. By then, worn out by real life, they will suppose that they must just be delusionally nostalgic as they remember that perfect world. Nah, they’ll remember right. They’ll remember exactly what I want them to remember. I am The Mom.
MOM’S HOT PUNCH
1 quart cranberry juice
1 quart apple juice
2 cups orange juice
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 c sugar
1 tsp whole allspice
1 tsp whole cloves
5 cinnamon sticks, broken up
Heat together on high in a large crockpot for several hours (or over the stove over low heat in a large pot)
For a large crowd, double the liquid & sugar, put the spices in a filter basket, and perk through a 30-cup coffee maker.
Strain out the spices and add a splash of Tuaca liqueur in the cups of the grown ups.