The house is clean and the table is set. The cranberry sauce is chilling, the turkey is settling, and the stuffing will go back into the oven shortly. We have about an hour until our friends arrive and then we'll put the finishing touches on everything.
Growing up, Thanksgiving was never one of my favorite holidays for no other reason than it seemed like a lot of hassle for a meal. I watched my mother cook all day and grow increasingly stressed out and then we'd eat and have all those dishes to do. Thanksgiving seemed like nothing more than the gateway to Christmas, something to get through before we got to the good stuff.
It was only in recent years that I developed an appreciation for the holiday. Now, I can lose myself in the details - in setting the table, in chopping and sautéing, in the smells that fill the house, in the flavors of the food, in the company, and even in doing the dishes. Family traditions mix with our own while new ones emerge and their mingling gives me a sense of permanence, of roots put down that reach ever deeper. There is hope in that.
I don't do my best when I'm in a place of fear and I've been in that place in recent weeks. Today is a good reminder to take a deep breath and focus on this moment. This day, our home, our family and friends, the food - I have much to be grateful for. I wish you all deep breaths and gratitude today and always.