Something unexpected happened yesterday for the first time EVER in my forty-some years… I felt fortunate to have had a messy kitchen. Ladies, hang onto your hats with that declaration, as I’m sure that you are thinking, “What on earth?! is that Sue talking about now? Surely, she must be off of her rocker…. again.”
For those of you who don’t know and live elsewhere in the world, this long weekend is our Canadian Thanksgiving. With it, brings the usual questionable weather as we begin our descent into darkness, colder temperatures and snow, which is on point and predicted for later in the week. At least we made it this far, I guess. After scrambling on Saturday, a somewhat reasonable fall day, to get as many of our outdoor things done as possible, we focused our efforts inward yesterday as we made our Thanksgiving dinner preparations. For the two of us. With COVID-19 numbers rising swiftly in our parts, our health officials advised families to limit celebrations to their immediate households, leaving outdoor visits and such for extended family members and friends. Not surprising, but also not welcomed. Another missed opportunity to gather with loved ones knowing full well that as winter settles in, outside gatherings will be few and far between making the absences at this special meal all the more difficult to swallow. A bummer no doubt, but we had all accepted the reality of it or at least I thought that I had.
Feeling out of sorts, but wanting to work past it, I got busy in the kitchen later in the morning making mess upon mess of dishes and the like, as I got some muffins made for the week and our turkey in the oven. After doing some clean-up and resting my feet, my dad called to say that he was going to drop off a care package that my mom had sent for us. I had no clue that she was putting anything together and instantly felt bad that I couldn’t do the same seeing as how I am the one who is thirty years younger. However, being that I am highly exposed to the coronavirus at work, I didn’t want to chance passing along any food items that I’d have handled. Instead, I dropped off a Thanksgiving centrepiece for my parents earlier in the week. It was great to see my dad for a little bit as we talked and shared a couple of laughs (my favourite part) on our front porch, but the wind was wicked as it mixed with our suddenly cooler temperatures to create less than favourable visiting conditions. I waved as he drove away. I felt happy and sad at the same time. I made up my mind right there and then.
Leaving the kitchen in a state of disarray (which is easier said than done) with more dishes to prepare, I decided to forgo any more cooking or cleaning in lieu of figuring out a way to do a video chat with my parents for later that night. If we couldn’t physically be together, then I was determined that we would at least get to see BOTH of them in some capacity. Having never done a virtual meeting with them before, the question was whether or not my mom’s computer had a camera and a microphone. Her android phone negated any FaceTime possibilities and unlike other folks, I don’t have a lot of experience with setting up online meetings given my yearlong disability leave. With only one way to find out, I called her on the phone and told her to open up her email as I had a Google Meet link waiting for her to click on. Sure enough, a few short minutes later, she and I were talking back and forth via her computer and our iPad. It was glorious!!!
To see her excitement at being able to see me, sans mask which I have been diligently wearing around her even outside, was PURE GOLD. “Yah… I can see you. There you are!” she excitedly exclaimed. Never mind Thanksgiving, it was as if Christmas morning had dawned for both of us with the best gift of all– the gift of each other. In that moment in time, all seemed right with this otherwise sideways world of ours and all that mattered was that we could really, truly see each other. She even got to show off her new denture plate that she had received earlier in the week. “Can you see it?” she asked.
“Yes, it looks great! I can really see your smile.” I can really see your smile, my thoughts echoed.
My mom and I immediately hatched a plan to surprise my dad with a group video chat after supper. Of course, I would later learn that she couldn’t keep our first meeting a secret, but that was perfectly fine with me. Before long, it turned out that she had talked to my brother and told my dad all about it once he had returned back home from his drive out here. Unfortunately, my additional plan to get my brother and sister-in-law to join in the meeting didn’t work out as I called back again after our Thanksgiving dinner, but my husband and I did get to visit with my parents as first planned. Despite a few hiccups, which were bound to happen, we shared in a ‘get-together’ which was all that really truly mattered as we each talked about our dinners and other things that make their way into conversations at family celebrations. And this indeed was a celebration of many kinds, messy kitchen and all. Not only did our disheveled kitchen represent having food on our table and in our tummies, it also meant that despite any sort of obstacles, love will always shine brighter than any darkness that we may feel if we just find a way to let it through. For that, I am thankful!