Every year on Thanksgiving day, I always have a dinner to go to. Dinner is usually at my dad’s house or my grandfather’s house. I’ve never been obligated to make a dish or bring anything. Each year, it has been a luxury to just show up, eat and be stress-free. This year, we’re living in the apartment in my dad’s house while I try to get back on my feet financially, as explained in blog, Handing over the key. Prior to us moving in, this apartment used to be my grandmother’s before she moved to Florida. Every year, she would contribute to Thanksgiving dinner. This year, I would take her place in helping with the holiday feast. My dad never asked for my help with dinner, however I insisted. My plan was to make homemade mashed potatoes and to also bake cookies. I was thrilled to do it and honestly couldn’t wait to get started.

Thanksgiving morning, we started our day with watching the Macy’s 90th Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV. It was so nice and peaceful. My son snuggled beside me anticipating what balloons he will see, while our cat Layla laid on my lap. It took me back to the days where I could smell the aroma of turkey in the oven as I watched the parade on TV in my little bedroom. My mother stressing to get the food finished on time as we awaited for the whole family to arrive. Maybe those memories came back to me because that was probably the last time I remember seeing the parade or maybe it’s because of this old house.Whatever the case may be, the memories were bittersweet.

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My son actually really enjoyed the musicals and dances in the parade. Which, I learned his love for them when we went to a play last month. It’s amazing to learn what interests him  and what he finds mesmerizing. However, about 30 minutes into the parade, my son kind of grew bored with the event. He started wrestling and having tickling matches with me in the bed. Which actually brought my energy up enough to get motivated to bake some cookies. So, I got started on those Pillsbury Snowman ready to bake cookies – yes, I cheated. Although, It didn’t stop anyone from demolishing them. I did also bake Chocolate Chip cookies from scratch, so I didn’t cheat completely. It also gave my son an opportunity to be included in the fun as he got to add the eggs, ingredients and of course lick the spoon of leftover dough.

Next, I got started on making homemade mashed potatoes. In the middle of pealing them, my dad walks in to inform me that dinner was ready and the rest was relying on me. Him saying, “take your time” sounded more like,”you need to hurry up”. However, it didn’t faze me, I was confident that I would have finished them within a few minutes. Truthfully, I was just taking in the moment. I remember my mom cooking and regardless of her stress, it was a fond memory for me. As I repetitively peeled back the skins of the potatoes, I could only imagine the thoughts running through my son’s head. Would this be a fond memory for him as it was for me to see my mom cooking Thanksgiving dinner? I wish I had done these things in previous years. By not making the Thanksgiving feast and watching the annual parade each year, was I hindering an opportunity for fond memories? Sometimes memories isn’t about a particular time, but maybe a particular tradition or routine. I always want each year to have something to remember. At that very moment, I knew I just started something new for my son and I – something that I was proud of.

My dad being so stuck in his ways of eating a plate in front of the TV, he had forgotten what Thanksgiving was about. So, I cleared the kitchen table and made the family sit together as one. We each made our plates picking out our favorites. My son loves turkey and cranberry sauce, but hates stuffing and ham. I’m not a big fan of turkey, so I choose the dark meat as it’s closest to the taste of chicken. I crave my dad’s homemade stuffing as he makes it by scratch, while adding the sweet taste of apples and raisins. Humor and kindness fills the room as we sit by one another. I could tell that my brother was gaining the spirit of the holiday as he mentioned the Thanksgivings of the past. He jokingly brought up our tradition of playing football in the backyard on Thanksgiving day as we had done each year when we were younger. This enticed my son to want to play a game of football after dinner. Even though my brother couldn’t join us, we still fulfilled my son’s wishes. We played a short version of the game and my son had a blast.

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Later on, my dad had thanked me for the suggestion of sitting us altogether. He was grateful that we were all together during the holiday and for my help with dinner. By his expressions, I could tell that I wasn’t the only one effected by the holiday. I know that my dad enjoyed all of his kids home for dinner just like years ago, although with the addition of a grandson. My brothers and I bringing back memories of old traditions as my son inspires new ones, while keeping us all young. I was thankful for all of that as well. I was more thankful for my dad teaching me the importance of tradition and making memories for my son. So, we decided to end our night with one more old tradition. My dad, son and I walked outside to see my dad’s amazing display of Christmas lights. We were all in amazement by his hard work, dedication and love behind putting these lights up every year for us all.

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Written by J. Marie

Founder/Owner, Perfectly Imperfect Parents - Single Mom . Blogger . Photographer . Bar Marketing Manager and Bartender . Artist of Frame Design . Part-Time Student to become a Licensed Mental Health Counselor.

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