Today, Luisa and I planned Thanksgiving dinner and made our grocery list. There was something comforting in the ritual - going over old recipes, considering new ones, and figuring out how much Portuguese wine is left in our stash. Then the questions: "Do we usually use half and half?" and "Is it one bag of cranberries or two?" and "Are you going to make bread?" (No, we are not making bread this year in case you were wondering.)
This is our 23rd Thanksgiving together (if my math is correct which could really go either way) and we don't always host but when we do, we are a well-oiled machine. We each have our roles and the kids have grown into roles of their own. I think back to Thanksgiving dinners when I was younger and remember how stressful they seemed for my mother and am thankful that Thanksgiving stress is not a tradition we have carried forward.
That's not to say that everything always goes perfectly. There have been times when things didn't quite turn out as planned. The year the gravy separated. The time Luisa got a burn on the top of her shoulder from making mashed potatoes. Those dinner rolls I made that were like rocks. Pies that tasted better than they looked. Yes, there have been missteps but, somehow, they have only added charm to my recollections.
As we chatted and planned and remembered, I took a moment to appreciate our traditions, even the small ones. Next week, we'll cook and I'll set the table with my mother's china and we'll gather with good friends. Now more than ever, these simple moments are centering me and keeping me steady.