I can't explain it exactly, but my brain has felt like a big blank this past week, unable to organize my thoughts in a coherent fashion. I know it's because the holidays are coming up, and for as much as I'm looking forward to them, I'm also feeling sad and missing my grandmas so much my heart aches.
While of course I'm excited about Thanksgiving this year because it's our first as Family Farm residents, I've become keenly aware that my role in the meal has changed. It's always been my grandma and my mom that do Thanksgiving, and I've always been the one who sits around chatting and eating olives like I've always done. It's true: I can be absolutely worthless when it comes to kitchen help.
A couple weeks ago, when my mom started planning Thanksgiving, she called me to start organizing everything. "You'll have to come over early this year," she said. "You'll be helping me out."
Her words hit me with an unexpected panic and gravity. This is the year everything changes. This is the year that I don't get to sit around being the entertaining daughter and granddaughter. I don't have any excuses to sit back and do nothing. This year, I'm stepping up into the role that my mom once filled, and my mom is now the cook in charge.
To my girls, the kitchen scene will be just as I remembered it as a kid. To them the characters are all the same. The grandma and the mom will spend the morning in the kitchen, prepping the turkey, fixing the bean casserole, keeping the kids' fingers out of the pies. The kids will play in the basement, unconsciously absorbing the sounds of Thanksgiving being prepared.
The picture will look just as it looked so many years ago when my mom had her first Thanksgiving meal on the Family Farm, her mom by her side, her baby girl unknowingly watching a holiday tradition that would last 33 years.
To my girls, Thanksgiving will be the same scene I watched so many times.
To me, having been witness to that very first Thanksgiving on the Family Farm, this Thursday will appear almost the same but not quite. As if a hand has reached in and rearranged the characters, dropping familiar faces into different spots. My mom at the oven. Me at the kitchen sink.
My grandma conspicuously absent.
It's the same scene. And yet, it isn't.