Thanksgiving that year fell right after I had had given birth to my eldest son.
All the years prior to this, I had spent at the houses of older relatives. I had been a college student. I never even had to worry about bringing a side dish. And when I left their houses after stuffing myself, I would be piled high with tupperware filled with enough food to last me an entire week.
Thanksgiving Day 1994, after being awake all night, pacing the floor with a crying 14 day old butterball that I had given birth to, we decided to stay home and have our own Thanksgiving. Our plans were to just spend the day napping and lounging in our underwear. Neither of us had given any thought to what we were going to eat.
As the morning dragged on I began to feel a little sad that I was going to be missing out on all of the Thanksgiving fixin’s. I felt a little sad that I was not going to be able eat all of the leftovers for the next week. I felt sad because I ALREADY owned elastic waist pants and was in fact wearing them.
And so my long suffering husband, who was probably wondering what happened to his wife and hoping that she would soon return and take the place of the blubbering hormonal mess that was currently passing as his wife, decided to go out to the grocery store.
His selections were limited. Very limited. There weren’t any turkeys so he had to buy a small chicken. We pretended it was a turkey. And we made instant mashed potatoes, stuffing from a box, and had gravy from a can. We didn’t end up eating until it was closing in on midnight.
As I sat at the kitchen table watching my new husband prepare the meal, the brand new baby asleep in my arms, I knew that there would never be a Thanksgiving as good as this one.
Over the years there have been other good ones for sure, but none that had the magic of that first Thanksgiving. The one where we first gave thanks for becoming a family.