There should be a lovely picture of a large, well-browned turkey here. Unfortunately, I began hacking away at carving the turkey in a hurry before actually taking a picture. By the time I realized it of course my hands were full of turkey and I barked an order at my husband to come take a picture while I stuck the leg back in the general vicinity where it belonged and rotated the turkey so the already-carved side was not so visible. Of course, that photo is on his phone where it will have to await the daylight hours for me to access it. So you will just have to use your imagination and believe me when I say that the turkey was in fact beautiful.
This year my parents were able to come down (they are two states away) to spend Thanksgiving with us. They came Sunday before Thanksgiving and left the Sunday after. It was a nice visit, and a nice Thanksgiving dinner. I only freaked out once or twice with all the cooking, and although I was not well prepared in advance as I usually am, dinner turned out well. My mom made the pies at my house with my girls, and it was sweet to see them bonding and forming such lovely memories with their grandma as they sprinkled flour, rolled dough, and measured out ingredients.
One of the things that I noted this year was that my interest in trying to do everything "perfectly" has waned, but I also had a bit more trouble scaling back than I anticipated. One thing that I noticed was that even though I was more willing to let go of doing things a certain way (like making homemade rolls) I ended up doing it anyway when my husband and older daughter looked sad at the idea of non-homemade rolls! Still, I have done the same dinner for enough years now that I have gotten the flow somewhat down.
Throughout most of my adult life, Thanksgiving has always been my big holiday and cooking a traditional turkey dinner myself has been a personal mission. Even when I was single and living far from my family, I would put on a pre-Thanksgiving feast, held a couple of weeks in advance so as not to conflict with people's family plans for the actual holiday. As much as I love dining out for any other meal, Thanksgiving is special. If I don't cook a turkey and make my mother's stuffing recipe, it just isn't the same.
This year, however, cooking was more challenging than usual and I was a little sad to find that I just wasn't that into it. Partly, I am just very very busy between my school, a babysitting job, vision therapy for my oldest, and chasing after a toddler. It is difficult to get time in the kitchen for long enough to let yeast dough rise or stock simmer. I realize that I am in a season of my life where my interest in cooking has waned somewhat. There are a lot of things competing for my attention and it makes it hard to reliably get through any but the simplest cooking projects.
I'm appreciating that it's okay for me to focus elsewhere, though--and that is part of the grace and beauty of cycles and traditions. Each year they find us in a somewhat different place than in the years before, and it's an opportunity to reflect on the ways we stay the same and the ways we grow and change as time passes.