As the weeks creep closer and closer to Thanksgiving, my level of excitement exponentially increases. We're doing something a little different this year to try and alleviate some of the stress related to all the cooking and cleaning that surrounds this holiday. This of course means that we are doing it to alleviate the stress of the female demographic in my family.
The women in my family love to cook. We love to make the old favorites, and we like to find new classics that we can share with one another. We love cooking alone in our own kitchens, and we love cooking together in someone else's. But having said that, it's no fun to spend days in the kitchen preparing a huge meal for 30 people, and then spend most of Thanksgiving day cleaning up the mess while the guys and the kids have fun visiting and playing. By the end of the day, my fingers look like raisins and my feet feel about twice their normal size and my conversations with members of my extended family boil down to 15 minutes over the turkey and dressing before bolting to the kitchen to make coffee and cut the pies.
When I finally get a chance to sit down, it's time for everyone to go home and I feel a little let down about the whole ordeal. So, this year we are all going to the beach. My parents, my brother and his wife and son, my sister and her husband and both Grannies are going to Gulf Shores, AL for Thanksgiving. We rented a beach house and we are having gumbo for lunch on the big day. We have planned out all the meals and snacks, and for the most part can be made ahead of time. With the cooking and planning out of the way, we can spend the majority of our time on the beach and playing with the kids.
I am understandably excited.
Ronna is bringing her camera and her talent as a photographer so we're hoping to get many shots of the cousins playing together. They don't see each other very often, since Patrick and Ronna live in Virginia so our time to together is really special. Benjamin is finally old enough to play with Nathan and Grace, so we are really looking forward to seeing them interact with one another.
The Grannies are both getting older, and it will be time well spent as we visit and spend some time together. I never thought I could imagine a holiday without Gramps, but this will be the third Thanksgiving without him. Time marches on and it's up to us to make the best of the time we have. I imagine hours spent over puzzles and cups of coffee laughing with the both of them, and seeing the joy in their eyes as they watch our children play at their feet. It's that sense of belonging and heritage that makes these times of coming together so special, and I'm glad that I will be experiencing it firsthand this year instead of just catching glimpses of it from the kitchen.