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MomTalk.com November 17, 2017:   The women's magazine for moms about children, family, health, home, fashion, careers, marriage & more


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I Love Thanksgiving


by Sharon MacDonell


Just when I thought we had no Thanksgiving tradition at all, my daughter taught me that tradition is simply whatever we do.


When I was a kid my mother rose early on Thanksgiving morning to wrestle with the turkey and jam it full of rosemary-scented stuffing before putting it in the oven. The house smelled of that heavenly rosemary all day long.


Back then we only had eight TV channels and all attention was on the one showing the Hudson's Thanksgiving Day Parade, with its school bands and toy commercials. My siblings and I jumped up and down screaming when Santa appeared on his sleigh, ushering in the Christmas season.


My dad was seldom around, but mom was amazing and managed to get everything on the table by herself, including the crispy turkey, creamy mashed potatoes and her fabulous stuffing. To this day, anytime I get a whiff of rosemary, I'm right back at that happy table.


But those were the olden days.


Today, my 6- and 8-year-old daughters have little interest in watching the Macy's-Target-American-Whozit's Parade that plays on one of our 120 channels. They're too busy with the Disney Channel or the Internet. But I can't really complain. I'm hardly the ideal Thanksgiving mom myself. I simply don't love the cleaning or cooking required to get through the day.


Yet nearly every Thanksgiving I end up hosting my family for the big meal. I try to get out of it, begging my mother or sister Cathy to host, but the bird duties always land on my doorstep. They say I have more space and somehow that makes it fair. Yeah, right.
The only saving grace is that while I have to clean my house, dig out the dusty platters and buy the food, at least it's not my elbow poking out of that turkey's hiney. Cathy and mom come over and play top chef in my kitchen. I focus my limited skills on the grunt work and my two specialties--devilled eggs and mashed potatoes.


But this year I had a new idea. Why not go out for Thanksgiving? There's absolutely no downside. We can get all dressed up and pay a charming waiter to ply us with food and drink till we can barely move. The only hard work will be lifting our overstuffed bodies from the restaurant table and squeezing them back into the car. What difference does it make? We hardly have a Thanksgiving tradition of our own.


The idea was a hit. My mom declared her turkey days over. My husband was thrilled I'd be in a good mood this Thanksgiving. Even my sister was beginning to weaken, when I suddenly made an about face and decided to do Thanksgiving after all.


Blame it on my daughter Patti. Apparently in her eight years on the scene, she's decided we're steeped in Thanksgiving tradition.


Our tradition is my coaxing them to watch the parade. It's having Grandma and Aunt Cathy argue and laugh with me while making a mess in my kitchen. It's playing with their cousin Trése and even watching me tussle with their dad over bringing those darned chairs up from the basement.


And it turns out that Patti loves my devilled eggs as much as I love my mom's rosemary stuffing. She begged me to have Thanksgiving at home.


Who knew!?


So I'm doing Thanksgiving. And since mom says she's retired from turkeys for good, I have to cook it, too. But that's OK. Now I know I'm making more than just a meal. I'm making traditions and memories that will stay with my girls their whole lives.
It's a breathtaking responsibility, but one I realize I'm thankful for.


Visit Sharon MacDonell's website at www.sharonmacdonell.com



Categories: Advice, Ideas & Stories, Feature Stories, Food & Recipes, MomShare,

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