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.