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.