I grew up in North Alabama. Actually, I'm from the same small town as the country group Alabama. Their music naturally makes me think of home. Yesterday, just after we passed the county line, the song "My Home's in Alabama" came on the radio. How cool is that?
As it was playing, I thought of growing up here and holidays past. (A little background: When I was in college, my grandmother remarried after having been widowed for 13 years. She lives in her husband's home nearby. My sister and her children live in my grandmother's house. This house was rebuilt in the 1950s after fire destroyed my mom's childhood home. It is on the farmland owned by my grandfather's family, where grew up. That's where we're having Thanksgiving dinner.)
I couldn't help but think how wonderful a blessing it is that my children can today watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade in the living room of that house, just like I did every year. (My sister & I always spent the night with my grandparents the night before Thanksgiving. My grandmother cooked all day, and we could do whatever we wanted. Yay grandparents!)
I can still see the furniture in that room clearly in my mind. I can see my Nana in the kitchen, smiling and laughing. I can see the console sewing machine that I don't remember being used for sewing, ever. It sat underneath the black rotary dial phone (the only phone in the house), and the cabinet made a perfect size tabletop for the holiday sherbet and ginger-ale punch.
This year, my grandmother is 81 years old. Until I was 18 years old, my sister and I were the only two grandchildren she had. My uncle (who started his family late in life) lives in Virginia, so those cousins weren't just 10 minutes away like we were. My grandmother has spoiled us rotten our whole lives. Shamelessly, lovingly, and totally. She is awesome. Until recently, she has been spry and active. She now suffers from increasing dementia and doesn't get around as well as she used to. She is thin, and doesn't eat much. (I spent 8 hours baking because I know she will have the sweets, if nothing else).
This year, all her children and grandchildren will be in her home for Thanksgiving dinner. My children will hopefully have a Thanksgiving memory that overlaps with all my Thanksgiving memories.
Today we will have a huge holiday dinner with our whole family and some extra friends. (Thanksgiving is the best time to include people who need some family). We will pray, we will laugh, and we will eat massive quantities of the delicious food of my childhood. The same crazy relatives will do the same predictable things they do every year. (My mom & I thought it would make a great drinking game to predict the things people will do & say and then you have to drink when they do it! We don't drink at my family Thanksgiving festivities, but that's going to change when I'm in charge...) I will need my fat pants. There will be laughter of children, football games to watch, and naps to take. I will be a grown up who won't sit down and relax until the dishes are done, and everything is tidy. Fat Baby will sneak over to the dessert table and sneak a cookie when he thinks I'm not looking. My Baby's Daddy will pile his plate high and eat every bite. The President will entertain everyone with his wry sense of humor. And I am so thankful.