One of my 14-year-old daughters took over the cooking this year. At 10 am, I stood by while she opened the refrigerator filled to the brim with ingredients. As she hoisted the turkey to the table, a bottle of wine smashed to the ground. We cleaned up the mess and I stepped on a piece of glass.
As I sat in front of the football game digging the glass out of my foot, I realized we did the same thing almost every holiday. Almost every year, we have piled the food in the fridge any way it fit and knocked over some glass bottle and I have lodged a piece in my foot. You would think I’d have learned to put on shoes in the kitchen by now.
Some traditions are made, like who sits where, what time you serve the turkey and what kind of cranberry sauce your family grouping chooses to have. Other traditions happen on their own.
When the Macy’s balloon went down, I instant messaged my father, still living in New York. He noted that the weather was traditional. I knew it was cold and feeling colder. I can still remember the feel of leggings on my legs, barely keeping the chill away as we stood in front of Central Park each Thanksgiving.
While my father took my brothers and me to the parade every year, my mother cleaned house. I never understood why. I hated cleaning and still do. Why she would do it on the holiday was beyond me.
This morning, I was on my hands and knees cleaning out the shelves under the kitchen island. They had caught my eye while we cleaned up the wine bottle.
I found myself relaxed and happy. My mother is dead now but I suspect I know why she cleaned on Thanksgiving morning. I suspect she watched her mother do the same when she was growing up.