It is the day after Thanksgiving and dubbed the biggest shopping day of the year. I must confess that I think people who get out the day after Thanksgiving and fight over special sales at stores which open their doors at 5:00 or 6:00 in the morning are insane. I know that it is a tradition among many people to do just that, and I don't doubt that there are many bargains for those who wish to spend their day that way.
For me, the day after Thanksgiving is a day I breathe a sigh of relief. Don't get me wrong, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year. I love Thanksgiving even more than Christmas because it is the day that we get to focus on thanking God for all of the blessings he has given us. It is a day that is filled with food and family without the intrusion of commercialism, without the stress of fighting traffic, buying gifts on a small budget, which I actually gave up years ago, opting to bake and prepare homemade Christmas trays of goodies instead, but even all the ingredients that go into those goodies come with a price tag.
This year I have something special to thank God for...
My Mother is one of the most giving people I know. She's never had much money because she isn't wise with money. She gets it, spends it, waits till she gets more, spends it and waits. That's just the way my Mother handles money, she always has handled it that way and I gave up trying to change it long ago. What makes me appreciate my Mother, though, is what she spends her money on when she does have it. Certainly, she has needs, like this year, my brother and sister-in-law gave her $100.00 to do something for herself. I advised her to hang on to it to buy herself some new contact lenses she needs, but as always, she found other uses for it. What? Making sure she had enough food to feed an army even though we were only feeding five people this year. In the past I tried to encourage her to cut back, but I gave up on trying to change that long ago, too. You see, that's what gives her joy. It isn't enough to have food "enough" to feed us, she has to spend an hour after the meal filling little tubs with giblet gravy, mashed potatoes, yams, green beans, her famous noodles, cranberry sauce, dressing and ziplock bags of turkey, light and dark, mind you, and ham to send home with everyone in attendance. This year she made six pumpkin pies for five people. She sent a whole pie home with each family and still had enough for another uncle and aunt to pick up a pie, each, along with their own containers filled with goodies. She worried about another uncle and wanted to send him a plate of food. That's my Mom. She's the same Mom who, when having $15.00 will end up spending $10.00 of it on other people, always finding some little something that "so and so" needs or would like.
Anyway, this year...this year, my Mom is 70 years old. This year my Mom is using a walker and we think her Wegener's Granulomatosis is coming out of remission, my brother and sister-in-law couldn't be with us and I had the blessing of doing all the cooking, except for her mouthwatering pumpkin pies. You know, I'm tired, but more than tired, this year, I'm blessed that I got to be her hands in the kitchen. I was blessed when I stood at the table, leaning over, allowing her to examine the amount of brown sugar I had measured for the candied yams, blessed to stir the flour and milk thickening mixture, which she had prepared for me, into her gravy and put just the right amount of yellow food coloring into her noodles and gravy for her while she sat on a chair in the kitchen. This day, the day after Thanksgiving, I am thankful for my Mom, the giver, thankful for the opportunity to spend a special day with her, making everything just so, and just loving her.
I think that's why I've been teary-eyed all morning. Things are changing...next year my brother and sister-in-law will be back for Thanksgiving and I'll be glad because I missed them, but today? Today, I am thankful for a day that I got to serve my Mother by being her hands in the kitchen, and you know, even though I did all the cooking, at the end of the day, that gravy, those noodles, those yams...everything we had, were my Mother's dishes, they tasted just like they have tasted every year, for as long as I can remember, but this year there was just a little "bitter-sweetness" to go along with every bite. While my heart is in my throat, while my eyes are full of tears I know, in my heart of hearts that I will look back on this Thanksgiving, 2005, as one of the precious memories that will never fade.
So, thank you, God, for my Mother.