the embrace of home

Author: angiem, 11 30th, 2009

little miss has something to contribute to every conversation

little miss has something to contribute to every conversation

Since my mom had been diagnosed with cancer, it had become my duty as firstborn to prepare the Thanksgiving day dinner.  With a few years worth of experience under my belt, and the misguided sense of confidence that brings, I no longer worry whether the turkey is moist enough or cooked through.

I have learned one thing about becoming the new family cook, and that is to never vacillate.  If the meat is a bit pink, it is so because I meant it to be so, and not for any other reason.  There are always a lot of cooks in my mom’s kitchen, and you can bet the opinions fly.  Thankfully, no one has gotten food poisoning as a result of my time spent wearing the apron of honor.

Thanksgiving this year has been poignant as my youngest sister and my youngest brother could not attend.  Based on our collective recollections, this has been the only Thanksgiving that we didn’t celebrate together.   As my nephew said grace and prayed for their safety, wistfulness took over and we spent the better part of the meal reminiscing about other Thanksgivings gathered together around my parents dining table.  And perhaps because they were not there, we decided to forgo the pie eating contest at the end of the meal.

Regardless, it was almost three hours later that we pushed our chairs back and retired ourselves to the family room couches and chairs where more of the same talk of politics, relationships, literature, religion and good times continued, while golden pools of light from the lit lamps shone on the blessed faces of loved ones far into the night.  Outside the cozy and comforting embrace of our childhood home it was cold and drizzly, a sort of desolate world of wind and water.

And as everyone said their goodbyes and goodnights promising to meet again in the new day, I offered up a little prayer of gratitude for those people that mean so much to our lives, whether they be family or friends, that we cannot imagine a life without them.


25 Responses to “the embrace of home”

  1. Susu Paris Chic Says:

    The atmosphere that you describe in your childhood home sounds very precious. And most of all, what is wonderful is that you all seem to truly appreciate each other and these get-togethers.

    Your daughter looks so cute. (I was so touched by the nickname she’s given me. Can you say a special “Paris-Barbie hi” from me to her?)

  2. Susan R. Mills Says:

    I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving despite the missing faces. We had a few of those this year too. Maybe next year, we’ll all be together again.

  3. krista Says:

    oh, that sweet face up there! she’s so beautiful…

  4. Deb Says:

    Holidays are often bitter-sweet, but always about family. Love the picture you painted of your gathering!

  5. Jessica Says:

    I’m sorry your siblings missed the meal, but how fun to talk about other dinners! I love Thanksgiving.

  6. deb @ talk at the table Says:

    I’m so saddened by this news about your mother. I wasn’t aware . Please accept my thoughts of healing and peace. For all of you.

    And I closed my eyes after reading that post. Imagining the very essence of family.

    and your daughter is too too cute!

  7. Renee Khan Says:

    Beautiful darling. What a beautiful little girl too.

    This post was simply lovely.

    Love Renee xoxo

  8. Pamela Says:

    I took over as Thanksgiving chef two years ago when my daddy was ill with cancer. He passed away two weeks later. I was a little freaked out at the responsibility at first….”Does this mean I’m really an adult???”. But now, I just love it. I always make it a point to invite at least one friend who is alone and that always makes the day even more fun!

  9. Aurora Says:

    I’m getting a little teary-eyed here… just beautiful :)
    By the way, my turkey in brine was the best ever! Must be tried if you’ve never done it that way.

  10. Lydia, Clueless Crafter Says:

    “. . .while golden pools of light from the lit lamps shone on the blessed faces of loved ones far into the night.” So vivid, Angie, that I feel as I were there.

    My Thanksgiving was not with my immediate family, so I too missed out on many faces and some huge laughs from my dad. My in-laws are fabulous, but I sadly did not get to sing with my mother nor listen to my dad craft up some of his witty, pithy conversations with the extended family.

    I guess I took his fun (okay, odd) spirit with me to my hubby’s extended family;-)

    What an animated daughter!

  11. corine Says:

    If you’re Christmas is as lovely as your thanksgiving, no wonder you enjoy it. I too, have become the turkey-cooker-upper in chief. No small feat since I am French and had never seen a sweet-potato, or a 20lbs turkey before moving to the U.S.
    I just love to cook for a crowd. I always feel closest to those I love when I feed them.

  12. materfamilias Says:

    Despite the sadness you allude to in your post (and I’m so sorry about your mother’s illness — we’ve been going through something similar with my mom), I’m struck by how lucky you’ve been to have spent all your Thanksgivings so far with all of your siblings and parents. My family is fairly close, but we haven’t managed anything like this — you must draw so much strength from each other!

  13. audrey Says:

    3 hours of eating and merriment, and then the party was moved from the dining table to another room…abundance and joy abounds!! how wonderful. i love it.

    i hope your mom is feeling ok these days, and i hope she is strengthened, encouraged and comforted by the joy of such a beautiful family in you all!

    p.s. what a cutie pie your little girl is.

  14. Mary-Laure Says:

    I had no idea your mum had been diagnosed with cancer… Surely it’s a great comfort to have you and this wonderful, beautiful family in her life.

  15. Holly L Says:

    It sounds as though Thanksgiving was wonderful in spite of the fact you were not all together…I miss that part of Thanksgiving (all being together). That sweet little face up top is just too precious for words!


  16. Stephanie Faris Says:

    How nice of you to take over all of this. I’m in awe. I’ve never made Thanksgiving dinner. These days we just go to Cracker Barrel. It makes things easier!

  17. Miss Cavendish Says:

    I hope you had a very happy Thanksgiving. The lovely book arrived, and I’m so excited to carve out time to read it–not till Christmas Break, but still: uninterupted hours to indulge! Thank you *so* much . . .

  18. angiem Says:

    Thank you all. I’m trying to limit my comments because of the drawing going on.

    Susa: she was thrilled that Paris Barbie said hi. Wanted to know when I can get her the Paris Barbie doll. Told her she must wait and see if there’s one in Santa’s sack.

    Susan: we did enjoy it because we enjoy each other. Sorry to hear that missing loved ones was the case with you too.

    Krista and Renee: she is beautiful inside out and I am so thankful for her.

    Jessica: talking about the old days is always fun!

    Deb: thank you. I love my family and they are more sweet than bitter.

    Deb Talk @ the Table: Thank you so much for your kind thoughts of healing and peace.

    Pamela: I am so sorry about your daddy. He was a beautiful and kind man. I know you miss him terribly this time of year.

    Aurora: Send me the recipe. I brine mine in an old iron tub filled with beer for about 24 hours.

    Lydia: I particularly like your turkey outfit. And I have no doubt your wit entertained everyone in Chicago.

    Corine: When we came to the States many years ago, my mother could not be convinced that sweet potatoes were actual potatoes. She doesn’t eat them to this day. And I’ll bet your French meals are the best ones ever!!!

    Materfamilias: thank you. We do draw a lot of strength from each other. There are five of us kids, all close in age, and our parents have been our biggest champions in whatever we chose to do.

    Audrey: thank you for your wonderful words.

    Mary-Laure: I truly hope we offer her the comfort and encouragement she needs.

    Holly: yes it was, and we will all be together for Christmas. Thank you.

    Stephanie: I don’t think I’ve heard of the Cracker Barrel.

  19. Karen@SurvivingMotherhood Says:

    What a wonderful picture you’ve painted here! Can almost feel as though I were there with you.
    My Thanksgiving celebration was small - my family, Mom and Dad, Aunt and Uncle, and Grandma. But we had a wonderful time, too!
    And I was given a new charge - I am now the pie baker. Was my grandma’s job all my growing up years, but she gave me a pie baking lesson a few years ago and everyone said last Thursday that I have recieved her “gift.” (That was quite a compliment. My grandma makes the BEST pies!) Now I’ll be the one who always brings the pies.
    We’re growing up, eh? *grin*

    BTW, you’ve never heard of Cracker Barrel? I’m so sorry! It’s an awesome restaurant.

  20. rochambeau Says:

    Dear Angie,
    You are all lucky to have one another.
    So sorry there were missing faces this year, but you made the most of it and have a great attitude!
    The photo of your little Miss is great!
    I’m thankful to meet a beautiful soul like you in blogland!

  21. Ani Says:

    I didn’t get a chance to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving! It sounds like you had a wonderful time with your family. Enjoy every moment you can with your lovely mother. We’ll have to get together soon with all the girls… Love you

  22. La Belette Rouge Says:

    It sounds like a wonderful day. I especially enjoyed hearing about your transition from moving into no longer worrying about the turkey. That is a big developmental step and one I have not conquered yet. You give me hope.

  23. Ruth Says:

    Welcome to the oldest sister club Angie! (Maybe I should name my blog this! I’ve been trying to come up with a catchy name!) I think this was the 4th year for us cooking the turkey. This year, we decided to ask everyone to bring something so we didn’t have to do all the cooking (except for turkey, stuffing, potatos!). I am glad that you got to spend time with those that were there. Our holidays are split like that, too. We’ll see about half on one day and the other half on another day. Same goes for Christmas.

    By the way, it’s capri blu because I love the candles! (Anthropologie…hehe)

  24. Ruth Says:

    And your daughter is a doll!

  25. Jennifer Says:

    Your daughter is a cutie!

    It’s always hard when family members are missing from a holiday celebration or when what is normal and traditional changes because of death or illness, but it sounds like you still had a wonderful Thanksgiving (and beautifully described, too!).

    I’ll be thinking good thoughts for your mother.

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