Thanksgiving in 1987 was very different from years past. I was pregnant with what I suspected was another girl. Bill and I had a bet that if I was right I got a dual cassette AM/FM stereo radio for the kitchen and if he was right he got a fishing reel he has been looking at for some time. Little known to each of us we bought each other the gifts for the bet or Christmas, whichever came first. Jenn was 5 days late and I was expecting the same thing with the second baby.
I decided that since I might either have a newborn or be extremely pregnant that I needed to get Christmas decorations put up early and all of our family Christmas gifts bought and wrapped. This would prove to be a very good decision.
For my entire life up to that point we had either been home or at someone’s house for Thanksgiving dinner. However, I decided I did not wish to cook anything including a side dish to take to any friend that might have asked us to come dine. So, for the first time ever we went out to Furrs Cafeteria for our Thanksgiving dinner in 1987. It proved to be a good decision as Heather Nicole made her entrance exactly 2 weeks later to the day.
Thanksgiving in 2009 was very different from years past. I had been a grieving mother for a little over 7 months when Thanksgiving came. I did not want to cook or be invited to anyone’s house to “be thankful.” Yes, I had lots to be thankful for however, there was one missing and my life would never be the same again.
For the past 10 years I cooked most all Thanksgiving dinners. I made the entire turkey with all the trimmings including pies for up to 22 people each year. Since Bill’s mom died in 2005, I had gone overboard to decorate, have fresh flowers and all the food for family. I did not mind and felt I was very good at hospitality and I cooked just like Bill’s mom. (So the family loved my cooking) But in 2009 I wanted nothing to do with any cooking, baking, decorating or anything else that had to do with a holiday. For only the second time ever our family, small and torn, went to the buffet for Thanksgiving dinner.
Here it is 2016 and I have no idea how we have gotten here. In 2009 I thought I would never survive the year and here it is 8th Thanksgiving without Heather. The tradition of making the formal Thanksgiving dinner has gone out the window since I worked at the Disney Store for a season. The tradition of taking the photo of Jenn, Heather and Wendy in front of the Christmas tree died when Heather did. Wendy was pregnant with Snooks while Heather wore her wig as she pushed to have the sisters take the photo with the tree. Who knew this would be the last photo like this.
This Thanksgiving season I have a lot to be thankful for, but I still find it hard to see the posts on Facebook of families having a fun time together. That was supposed to be us! We were supposed to get the fairy tale ending! Heather’s chair is forever missing at our holiday table, so are her husband and her children. When Heather died I lost a portion of my future and nothing is normal anymore. Wendy is out of state, Snooks is at her dad’s, Jenn is nearly 7 months pregnant and I am not feeling this holiday season at all. There have been some difficult struggles and I am not in a holiday mood. For only the third time ever I did not cook, or bake and we out to a buffet for dinner.
I would like to say that time heals the heart and makes the hurt lessen but for me it doesn’t. When you sit at your holiday table look around and be thankful for the members that are there as it all could change in a moments notice.