Friday, November 27, 2009

Chemo brain. I thought that I was getting better, but the night before Thanksgiving, I was sitting there after baking bread, pies, making the waldorf salad, pistachio salad, and assembling the sweet potato casserole. I just knew I was forgetting something. It finally came to me. I nearly forgot the cranberry sauce. I went out and made the sauce. The next day, I've got potatoes boiling, and I'm assembling the vegetable dishes, and my son in law mentions the year that he forgot to make the gravy and never realized until they all were sitting around the table. I gaped at him. God bless his heart! My giblets were in the fridge. I nearly forgot to make gravy. Worst part? I HAD A LIST! I was so flipping afraid to forget something, I had a list, and still managed to nearly forget two integral parts of the meal.

Last year's celebration was different. I'd had chemo the day before. The kids had prepared a lot of the meal. It was out of necessity, simpler. The pies were store bought. It was the first time that we had been all together since the diagnosis, and I think the kids were still very afraid.

With that poor spector of Thanksgivings past, I wanted this one to be a knock-your-socks-off meal. New recipes. I made careful lists, for shopping, for meal preparation. I wrote the new recipes down in my little notebook. Despite the near disasters, everything made it to the table, and it was good. We gave thanks, and we talked and talked and ate and ate and laughed and laughed. I wanted memories, for myself, for everyone around the table. I think that it happened. It was a Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving, and I found myself getting teary eyed at odd, private moments. Last year I did not know if I'd ever be able to give my family this gift again, and out of all the blessings that I counted yesterday, just the fact that I was back in the kitchen working at this meal made me more grateful than anyone at that table could have guessed.


Bob said...

Sounds like it was great! So happy for you. What a great day to count your blessings and so many of yours were sitting right there w/ you.

We were able to give my in-laws, both 81, a wonderful gift yesterday, by having their two daughters and their husbands, and all 6 of their grandchildren here, altogether, and this was the first time this has ever happened -- not just for a holiday, but ever. We got a great photo and it was a great, memorable time.

I love Thanksgiving.

steviewren said...

My daddy has had cancer for many months now. He has done very well. He takes a type of thalidomide to treat his multiple myeloma. Last week he found out that he also has a cancerous growth on his kidney. So I know what you mean about making this year a year to remember. I'm glad you guys made memories. It's important.

Kelly said...

I'm glad the day turned out so well for you! I had special thoughts and prayers yesterday for all my internet (and real life) pals that are/were battling cancer. I'm pleased you enjoyed such a special day with your family.

Even without "chemo brain" I have to make a list and refer to it often to make sure everything gets done. I start out with a "to do" list for each day prior culminating with the menu checklist to make sure it all makes it to the table!!

WhiteStone said...

That chemo brain! Wednesday my mind just clicked! I worked on one dish after another, pre-cooking as much as possible ahead of time. When I am not distracted by people, my brain is working just fine. But THURSDAY! With people in the house it took me forEVER to put together a sweet potato casserole of 6 ingredients. Ours, like yours, was a Norman Rockwell day. Much laughter. Much talk. Old stories told once again. And some new ones thrown in for good measure.

jeanie said...

Darn - lost a perfectly good comment. Stoopid cookies.

I think so long as the most important dish was there, your family would forgive - and you were!

Pity about those international customs laws, otherwise you could send some leftovers!!!

BUSH BABE said...

Your depth of feeling makes me well... I hear, I feel you. I love that your Thanksgiving was a 'well' one that you could do the 'giving' for. You give us much too, you know?

Lori said...

Very nice entry.

Bill of Wasilla said...

I'm so very glad that you had such a great Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving. I don't think it was Chemo brain at all.

We forgot something for awhile, too, but I can't remember what it was.

Kim said...

I am so happy for you!

PaintedPromise said...

now that's a post to warm the heart. wish i hadn't been so busy and playing catch-up now, i could have used reading this earlier!!!

and it's too late but try this recipe... everyone makes green beans with cream of mushroom soup and those french onions on top... i've eaten it for years and i like it even though i cannot STAND mushrooms... well a friend of mine who actually HAS a brain (unlike my mother lol) changed the recipe because her kids didn't like mushrooms... she used cream of CHICKEN soup instead!!! this is now my new favorite recipe!!!!!