When our son got married, he and his bride set down a holiday marker: Thanksgiving with his parents in Washington; Christmas with her's in Maine.
Several years have passed. Family growth has marked the passage of time. Thanksgiving is still "ours"--and includes, of course, our daughter and her family. But the hosting mantle has passed to our son and daughter-in-law. It no longer made sense for our son's family of five and our daughter's family of three to board overcrowded holiday flights for a trip to ye olde homestead. Now our daughter drives three hours to her brothers house and we take on the burden of flying there.
I have no complaints. "The old order changeth yielding place to new." Tennyson may not have had parental roles in mind but that's part of what parenting grown children is all about. Our grown kids edge their way into our place on stage. We're no longer the actors in charge.
In the morning after this year's family feast, I catalogued what I miss about the days when Paterfamilias and I ruled the roost and hosted the holiday.
The mix of family with Best Friends. I cooked the turkey and pies; our friends brought the sides. It halved the workload and gave them and us the chance to catch up with each other's grown children and grands.
The scent of the house from the rush of cooking and baking.
Setting the table with my mother's best dishes and my mother-in-law's silverware: a memorable re-use of their treasures.
The morning-after sound of our grandkids having breakfast in the kitchen while paterfamilias and I lolled abed upstairs.
The turkey carcass: all mine to pick at after our kids and the bulk of turkey leftovers have left the building.
I also remember the upside to "yielding place to new." Here's what I don't miss.
Stocking the fridge and pantry for all the other meals weekend guests will need, which includes remembering individual preferences such as chunky peanut butter, soy milk (or was it almond his year?) and apricot jam.
Figuring out what to do the year we forgot to put the Tofurkey (three vegeterians are amongst us) in the oven. Ditto for the year when the turkey was grossly undercooked.
Dismantling the blow-up beds when the weekend visit is over.
Clearing out the never-will-be-eaten leftovers from the refrigerator.
The sudden silence in the house after the grown kids and their families leave for home.