Two pies on the cooling rack. Vegetables chopped. Hickory wood chunks soaking for a smoker that was seasoned for a turkey that will be rubbed with red wine, rosemary, garlic, and olive oil. List of last minute chores stuck to the refrigerator with a magnet that reads "Make Art."
Brian is finishing out his last days at Fort Benning (before transferring to Fort Hood) with another one of my soldier babies, Jon Standish. They'll part ways in 2 weeks, after 4 years and two tours in Iraq together. They have decided to celebrate by cooking themselves a turkey dinner with all the fixin's, and I am (woo-hoo!) the Mom Consultant. How? How Long? Stuffing? Giblets? What do we do with this string? I am smug and giddy with every phone call.
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day. I freakin' bucked up for it, last year. My sister had been gone 11 weeks or so, and she'd prepared me for it, and I puffed up my chest and I did it. I was strong, and we were strong, and if we could get through the first one, all of the rest would be cinchy.
Pfft. Big lie, bigbig lie. See, after The Strong Year, things are supposed to return to normal. Normal means Teri is in charge of gravy. I don't DO gravy, it is..it is just Teri's job. I have been in a gravy tailspin this year, picking up and putting back glass jars of some sort of gelatinous muck, and reading the "just add water" to packets of powder. I guess it's time to put on my big girl panties and do the 'effin gravy. I don't like it, I don't like it at all!
In fact, two weeks ago, I didn't want to do any of it. Bleah! Blargh! Rarf! I'm tired and I'm cranky, and it will cost a lot and be a lot of work, and Brian won't be here, and Teri won't be here, and I have a grumpy, and let's just go out to eat, and I think I'll go eat worms.
I get like that, sometimes. But now it's here, and really, wild horses couldn't keep me from it. Truth is, I love puttering around the kitchen. I love my family, and planning for them to be here. I love cooking. I love discussing rubs, and times, and temperatures with Clint, and figuring out the smoker he got for Christmas.
My kid, though not at my table, IS NOT SITTING AT A TABLE IN IRAQ. He's home. He's alive. Prayers granted, acknowledged, and appreciated. I can't ask for more.
Tonight I recieved a message from one Ames Lay, serving in Afghanistan. He'd metioned in a facebook update that the space heater in his office had gone out, and I jumped on the chance to send him a replacement. His message read:
The heater arrived today. I gave it to my team Chief who was very excited. The heater in his room is broken so he has been sleeping inside our super thick issued sleeping bags and long johns. He was very grateful.
I am reminded: While we wallow in justifiable heartache, and recognize that many prayers have been granted, life goes on.
Tomorrow I will cook with my man, decorate my home, laugh and scream with family, give my kid cooking advice via cell phone, eat like a king and choose from 3 desserts, and think of a soldier that just opted to work in a freezing environment so that a comrade doesn't have to sleep in one.
I am thankful.