Hey stranger…where ya been?

Wait, that wasn’t directed at you, my wonderful readers. At least I hope there’s still an ‘s’ on the end of that last word. It was meant for me. And while it was never my intention to post every day, or week for that matter, I did think perhaps once a month was doable.

Oh well, we all know which road is paved with good intentions.

The last few months have been busy with family and other obligations and what writing time I managed to find was spent on my work in progress or as I like to refer to it, “my little story.” Trust me, I’m not complaining, just trying to account for my absence.

So here I sit, the day before Thanksgiving, thinking about the last minute things I need to get done before my gang arrives, but instead of heading off to the store for the things I forgot to get yesterday…Yes, I had a list…I decided to sit down and write. Go figure. Six months of not hearing from me and wham a post. Some might say I’m procrastinating but I see it differently.  What better time is there to sit, reflect and count my blessings, than the day before ‘the day’ our nation has set aside to give thanks?

As I was making my shopping list the other day…see I told you I had made a list. I started thinking about traditions. Our family has our share, as I’m sure yours does as well, and many of them seem to be centered around food.

Take our Thanksgiving meal menu. It hasn’t changed in over thirty years. I remember looking through cookbooks and food magazines for inspiration. I’d rip out pages or place post-it notes on the pages where I’d find things that looked yummy. I’ll never forget one Thanksgiving I mentioned to the boys I was thinking of trying a new cauliflower casserole recipe. One I had ripped out of a magazine thinking perhaps I’d give the old broccoli casserole a year off. As I read the ingredients to those present in the room, I heard someone say. “Sounds good Mom.” There, I had it. Permission to move ahead. But then I must have mentioned something about not having the broccoli casserole and the next thing I heard was…”Wait, what?!?” You see, that was the moment I learned how important the traditional Thanksgiving menu was to all three of my boys. They sweetly but emphatically told me I was more than welcome to introduce a new dish to the menu but it couldn’t be in lieu of an old favorite. Message received.

There are other holidays and important milestones marked by food in this house as well. Take for example the Saturday after Thanksgiving. A day the man cave gets turned into an inside tailgating spot. As everyone knows, it’s called rivalry Saturday and since the three boys went to three different colleges, all with their own football teams, there are usually games on all day long. This day has its own menu as well and the boys have mastered the timing of picking up the wings perfectly. Or, as is more likely, they’ve talked one of their buddies into picking up the order on their way over. They try to pace themselves but between the sausage dip, wings, pizza and beer…the food coma has usually set in by the night games.

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Most all our friends know who’s birthday it is or who is coming home by what I’m fixing. If I mention I need to make lasagna, everyone knows my older son will be arriving soon. It’s a bit trickier when I make chicken parmesan because it’s the favorite for my two other sons. They both request it as ‘their’ meal. I don’t think there is a friend out there who wouldn’t be able to guess which sons are headed home by my dinner menu tonight.

What I love most about our food traditions are what they have done and continue to do for my family. Food gets us around the table. Every birthday, welcome home, and holiday meal has brought not only my boys, but our extended family and all our friends together. Is there anything better than enjoying a delicious meal, surrounded by your family and friends, all talking, laughing and connecting? I say no! We’ve spent countless hours lingering around the kitchen table which usually transforms into a game table after the dishes have been cleared.

So this Thanksgiving, as you gather around the table, look around at each face. Be present and enjoy the moment. I know the holidays can be hard but maybe try and think of all the things which bring us together instead of those which divide us. The empty broccoli casserole dish, or whatever your family’s favorite must have dish is, and all the other plates and glasses, for that matter, can wait. Just sip your favorite beverage, listen to the chatter and linger.

Oh and just FYI…the cauliflower casserole, while tasty, did not make it onto the ‘must have’ list.

Well, I’ve put it off long enough. I need to get back to the store for the remaining few items and God forbid before the last can of fried onions disappears. So, from me and my family, to you and yours…cheers to all those traditions…whatever they may be!

Happy Thanksgiving!

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  “Dedicated to the one(s) I love” … The Shirells

 

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This is the song going through my head as I write this piece. And let me apologize right now because I’m sure this tune is now running through your head as well. Sorry!

In case you haven’t checked your phone, turned on the T.V. or opened the newspaper. Today is February 14th. Valentine’s Day.  A day set aside to show appreciation for family, friends, significant others and anyone else you happen to love…ahem…your furry pets!

We all know we should be doing this every single day but it is nice to have the additional opportunity to say “I love you” to all the special people in our lives.

I have always said the good Lord knew what he was doing when he blessed me with three sons. (I’m sure God appreciates my thumbs up!) I grew up with brothers. Three to be exact and being around boys is what I know.

I have a feeling my brothers (and sons for that matter) would say any drama in the house was caused or initiated by me. The only girl. They would probably be right, but please don’t tell them I said so. In reality, I think they got off pretty easy and would have to admit when it came to drama queens, I wasn’t ever going to win the crown.

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Don’t get me wrong…It’s not that I wouldn’t have loved to have had a daughter. I was very close to my Mom and am confident I would have shared the same relationship with a daughter. And I don’t know what I would do without my daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, niece and all my gal-pals…but…there is just something about a house full of boys. The way they think, solve problems, and the fact that our house was relatively calm and drama free, all synced well with my personality.

Now my oldest son is married and he and my darling daughter-in-law were blessed with a son almost four months ago. They now get to experience firsthand how amazing raising a son will be and my sweet daughter-in-law has another man in her life who will love her with all his heart for the rest of his life.

There is an Irish Proverb,  “A son is a son till he takes him a wife, a daughter is a daughter all her life.”

Well, I don’t think this is necessarily true. My boys have loved me well and continue to show me how much I mean to them each and every day. I refuse to look at the marriage of any one of my boys as losing a son…instead I look at it as gaining a daughter! Yep…I finally have my girl.

There is no limit to how large our hearts can grow. My family and friends have taught me that.

Thank you all for your friendship and support. I’m a lucky gal to have lots of people in my life to say “Happy Valentine’s Day” to.

Wishing you much…

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And to my gang … well you know what’s coming.

I love you more…