Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The First and the Last

I remember my first Thanksgiving I spent in California. It was a big deal, as it was the first Thanksgiving that I cooked entirely by myself, the first Thanksgiving that Ben and I spent together, away from our families. We had over a friend from  grad school, and a friend from work at VS. The dinner itself went very smoothly. I remember many things about that dinner.

I remember being very nervous about cooking a turkey and having to buy a roasting pan and baster. I remember having to clear out our entire tiny freezer in to accomodate the turkey. I remember I didn't know how to make green bean casserole, a dish I can now make in my sleep, so I had to scour the internet for a recipe. I remember doing the same for deviled husband has to have his deviled eggs for Thanksgiving. I remember sending him across the street to the 24hr Market that was only really open 20 hours a day for foil because I ran out and was terrified of scorching the turkey. I remember my friend from grad school bringing wine and a corkscrew, because I didn't own one at the time. I remember crowding around our teeny table (which we will use) in our teenier apartment and eating. I remember taking a walk after dinner, up the hill behind our block and taking in one of the most breath taking views of the lit up downtown SF, which we would continue to do as along as we lived there. I remember making a plate of food up and putting it out for the homeless man who was camped in the doorway of the abandoned building next to ours. I remember feeling a sense of accomplishment, that we had made it through this first major holiday on our own.

And now I will have memories of the last Thanksgiving, at least for a long while, that I will spend in California. I will elaborate more in a few days, once a few more details are hammered away, but for now that is all I will say. As I prepared for this dinner, I felt an overwhelming sense of relief that next year, I will only have to make ONE SIDEDISH and not a whole entire meal. At the same time I felt a tingle of sadness as I reflected over the 7 Thanksgiving Days I have prepared for and executed all by myself. Oddly, this past one was the only one my husband and I spent together, ourselves, with Isaac and no other guests. It was strangely quiet, but wonderfully peaceful and I will take these memories with me.

I will remember how my husband took me to see Harry Potter 7 on the eve before Thanksgiving, even though he was exhausted. I will remember how Isaac helped us baste the turkey...he stood by the oven and said "hot! hot! don't touch!" I will remember how we ate together at the table, Isaac chowing on turkey and crackers, which is all he would eat. I will remember attempting the Toys R Us Black Friday sale with  my neighbor, seeing the line wrapped around the building, and hightailing it back to the warm car to shop online. I will remember Isaac gobbling and dancing around to "Poker Face." I will remember having him watch Rudolph and Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas. I will remember falling asleep with him on my bed, taking a nice long nap. I will remember Ben and I talking about what to get our budding toddler for Christmas. I will remember Isaac Skyping with our family back in Ohio and calling them out by name. I will remember being a family, just us three.

Today is really my first day back into our normal everyday life after a wonderful, relaxing break. I hope everyone had as wonderful a Thanksgiving holiday as our family did.

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