And at last it was time to eat. As we gathered around the table, Mister carved the turkey. I poured the coffee, fluffed my skirts and shushed the children into a quiet reverence. It was sheer perfection in a way rivaled only by Norman Rockwell.
And within 15 minutes, it was gone. And reality was restored.
Will Mothers ever find a way to slow the heaping of plates?
The emptying of serving bowls at breakneck speed?
Food that had occupied the whole of two days prior is devoured without a by-your-leave. Conversation screeches to a standstill while the silver clinks along.
Nothing left but crumbs and cold celery (because parents everywhere know of children's universal dislike of celery even if you try to hide it in lime jello salads).
The kitchen counter that once held steaming casseroles now becomes buried in dirty dishes. The only evidence that there was a turkey is the drying wishbone.
And barely does your stomach have time to recoup before dessert is laid out (okay we do that to ourselves).
Whoosh! It's gone just as fast!
But the decision is unanimous. Bellys are noticeably bigger than before.
And the rest of the night is occupied with the peace of mind that comes only after a hard day's work. And too much whipping cream. And the understanding that nobody needs to embody the picture of Norman Rockwell in order to be thankful for what they have. Every dirty dish, every celery crumb, every aching belly is the stuff of life. A life that will never be perfect. But then, why would we want it to be?