The Thanksgiving Table on the Florida Suncoast
Happy Thanksgiving to all of you reading this! First off, I would like to say congratulations if you were able to complete your shopping list with one trip to your preferred grocery store. Does anybody do that? For me, it was an online order for organic produce, a stuff-your-cart visit to Aldi’s, then back to Aldi’s again (forgot the turkey). Because I am writing this story a week in advance, by the time you read this, I will likely have visited Publix for desserts and will round things out with a romp through Walmart for some cheap tablescape items.
I am certain that a Thanksgiving morning trip to Dollar General for tinfoil or another holiday essential is in my future. But, alas, we shall eat, then nap. I think the napping is due to shopping fatigue, not the tryptophan in the turkey. I hope that when you sit down with your loved ones or new friends today, you take the time to really appreciate the work that has gone into one little old meal.
As for me and mine, we will gather around the same table we sit at three or four evenings a week for dinner, if we’re lucky. I’m not proud of that, but with the kids’ extracurriculars, and our work schedules, it’s about all we really do anymore. It used to be we couldn’t get away from the dinner table when they were little. You know the routine, at least three times a day for meals and several snacks in between, along with coffee breaks for you, you wheel the highchair over and commence “gathering.” The table becomes your hub for everything. It will feel like you are wiping down surfaces smeared with oatmeal and peanut butter from the moment you wake up, because you are. Himalayan Mountains of laundry will be folded on that table. At first, tiny little socks that make your insides secretly squeal with joy thinking of the sweet baby toes that will wiggle in them, then over time the pastels of baby years will morph into sports jerseys and school spirit shirts. You will no longer be able to tell the difference between your husband’s socks and your sons’ socks and their feet will no longer give you the feels.
The conversations around the dinner table should be recorded over the years so when you’re sitting together, you can rewind back time and see what was the hot topic of conversation on any give holiday. It would be quite the perspective to be able to listen back to the ramblings of your chatty toddlers as opposed to their present-day philosophies on everything from politics to religion. Life changes, horrible days and moments that turn into cherished childhood memories for your kids will be hashed out at the dinner table. There’s nothing quite like peering into the eyes of your child as their look clearly expresses the hurt feelings their words cannot. as you ask what happened in their day. Many decisions are made between mom and dad with a look and a nod across the table, much the same as the under-the-table kicks simultaneously happening between siblings. You will celebrate their birthdays in a lightning-fast procession. And as they age, your own maturity and the bits of wisdom that comes with it allows you the presence of mind to be in the moment, appreciating life right now, hoping they stay just a little longer at the table before retreating to their rooms.
We hope your tableside experiences are wonderful tomorrow and always. Gathering for a fabulous meal with family and people who feel like family is such a tremendous gift that we should really bestow upon each other all year. Don’t forget to perhaps bring a pretty bouquet to adorn your host or hostess’s table. And, if your home Is ground zero for the festivities tomorrow, kudos to you. May you all have bountiful tables this holiday season, overflowing with easy conversation and harmony between all, and may your tables be a place where you gather repeatedly this year.
Photos courtesy of Happy Thanksgiving Images Facebook Page