Right now, there is a blissful lull in the activity at my house.
Do you hear that?
That’s right. That’s what nothing sounds like.
It’s so lovely.
The morning was a blur of pumpkin pie-baking, corn pudding-making, turkey-preparing, last minute grocery store-running and toddler-walking. Now, the side dishes sit, waiting in the fridge or on the stovetop, and the turkey is browning in the oven. The toddler is snoozing in his crib. The football game is on, but the volume is turned down low, since the Titans are blowing the Lions away, and everyone has pretty much lost interest. A few relatives have not yet arrived, so everyone already here is just relaxing.
I love it. My son, upon venturing outside this morning on our walk to the neighborhood playground, jumped into the air and proclaimed, “It’s a perfect day!” And it is. The air is cool and crisp, but not cold, and the sun is blazing over the housetops. There’s almost no one out driving around, but a few people have cheerfully tooled by our house on their bikes.
In a couple of hours, the final Mad Rush Around the Kitchen will commence, as I, my mom, my mother-in-law, my brother-in-law and my husband embark on a complicated dance around each other, each trying to make sure our preferred dishes are hot and ready to serve. Someone will likely attempt to open a tricky bottle of wine or two, and my husband will probably swear at the turkey as he attempts to carve the larger-than-he-originally-thought bird. I’ll remember, at the last minute, that I forgot to heat the rolls.
But eventually we’ll all sit down around my grandmother’s dining room table and for a few seconds, that’s all we’ll do. Just sit. And my father will lead us in a Thanksgiving prayer. It will speed by, since it always does, but if I do nothing else, I will think, “I truly am grateful this year.” Because I am. We’re healthy, we’re here. We have a solid roof over our heads and warm clothes to wear. Most of us are employed. We’re together. And we had a few peaceful moments in the midst of the cacophany to remember it.
Then the quiet will end. We’ll pass the serving dishes around in a complicated routine that somehow always results in whatever you want ending up on the opposite side of the table. (Guess who always ends up with the JellO salad next to her when all she really wants is the mashed potatoes, PLEASE.) Then we’ll eat and talk and tell old boring stories that only we could find interesting upon the three-hundredth retelling. And it won’t be quiet again, at least not for a long time. But it’s okay. I’ll still be thankful for the time when it was.