Of my five children, one is in Australia for a year, one is at Purdue University, one is at IU, and the other two are still young enough to be safely home with Mommy. Thanksgiving was my first holiday to experience the joy of welcoming two kids home, while at the same time battling the melancholy that settled into my heart due to one child not celebrating with us at all.
Our Thanksgiving crowd was small this year — only 26 total, counting immediate family, old friends, three new friends that I’d never before met, and my dad’s fiancée, whom I had met once during a tornado. Two of our guests were from China, so I think we win the distance award. We also had the privilege of visiting, via Facetime, with a friend stationed in Yemen. And we spent the day texting videos and pictures to Australia, so, all in all, our Thanksgiving celebration had a real international flair. This was enhanced by our Syrian friend’s annual contribution of homemade hummus and Tabbouleh. I imagine my kids might be the only ones in Boone County, who eagerly anticipate the appearance of these dishes alongside the turkey and stuffing.
Even though the guest list was shorter this year, the amount of work is basically the same as when we feed a crowd of 60. This means I need all hands on deck. Seeing as one pair of hands was “Down Under,” and two pairs are just learning the art of potato peeling, that left a bit more work for the “home from college” kids. But we worked together, in mostly joyous harmony, only occasionally diverging into irritated remarks of, “But you said when I was done slicing the cranberry sauce I could take a shower!”In the absence of my child who actually knows where everything goes in the kitchen cabinets, I was forced to call upon my 19-year-old son to put away the groceries. I knew this meant I would spend a little extra time searching for things, but I figured the trade-off was worth not having groceries sitting about when the guests arrived.
It’s kind of like a scavenger hunt. Where might I find a box of Equal sweetener packets? With the baking items? With the teas and coffee? How about in the cabinet with the vitamins, Benadryl and Tylenol? Ding! Ding! Ding!The same thing happens when I ask him to help with the dishes. Currently, I see three bread pans tucked up on the shelf next to my cookbooks; my antique pedestal bowl sitting cock-eyed on top of the cabinet; and wherever he stashed my Crock-Pot is likely to be its final resting place, because I can’t find it anywhere.
So, it came as no surprise that once he went back to Purdue, I had a bit of trouble locating things. Sunday night, I decided to get a jump start on what was sure to be a difficult Monday morning. Rousing the little ones after a long holiday weekend and getting them off to school, is always a challenging task. I figured packing their lunches the night before would give me a little extra time to repeatedly adjust the toe seam in my daughter’s sock, and coerce my son into using toothpaste on his toothbrush. The only problem was, I couldn’t find the potato chips.I distinctly remembered that during my Black Friday shopping at Sam’s Club, I had purchased one each of Ruffles, Tostitos, Doritos and Fritos. Four huge bags of chips had seemingly disappeared into thin air. I triple checked the snack cabinet, which isn’t even technically large enough to hold all four bags. I searched the cereal cabinet, on top of the fridge, behind the washing machine, under beds and in the bathroom closet.
Finally, I gave up and texted son to ask. Answer? The chips are at his apartment. Gee. I never thought to look there.I had a good laugh, but couldn’t help but think how nice it will be when my Aussie daughter finally returns home. I love all of my kids, but there’s just something about a girl who knows where everything goes.
Truitt is an author, speaker and mother of five. Find her on Facebook (Ginger Truitt-Author) and Twitter (@GingerTruitt), or contact her through www.gingertruitt.com.