Years ago, my husband and I debated how we should spend the holidays since it’s always hard to split time between families. It was also complicated by the fact that his family was several hours away and my mother was handicapped and wheel chair confined. When I was in my late teens I had become the official turkey cooker in my house on Thanksgiving when my mother was no longer able to do it. Now before anyone gets too jealous of my cooking skills, I grew up in a house where most food came from a box and had a pound of butter and salt on it so it wasn’t that difficult!
In order for Tim and I to be able to celebrate with both families, we started having “Fake Thanksgiving” with my mother, brother, and several close family members a week or two before the real day. Although the day was “fake” it was as real as it came for us. My mother was always in to the holidays, particularly (over) decorating the house for every holiday (big or small). Of course, “Fake Thanksgiving” would be no different and she would have the house decorated with homemade and (often cheesy) decorations. Now let’s also recall that she was handicapped, so in later years she would need to have her home health aide help her make these crafts. I’m pretty sure when you take on a job as a health aide you are not expecting to be making pom pom turkeys but luckily my mother was blessed with having some pretty terrific people that worked with her.
At the time, I thought she was crazy (and she was) but now the day before we are continuing the tradition and having “Fake Thanksgiving” here at my house I am taking out some of the crafts that have survived through the years and cherishing them. The kids are playing with them and we are looking at pictures of old Thanksgivings at Grammy’s house and everything feels right. Although my mother was ill for much of my life, we never dreamed that we would lose her as early as we did. In her honor of her, Isabelle and I colored and cut out Turkey table setting cards for our guests tomorrow. My mom would be proud, although she would probably say that they needed some glitter.
Silliness at “Fake Thanksgiving” 2004 (I was the youngest guest yet we still wore construction paper headdresses)
I wasn’t kidding about the pom pom turkeys