Our creative, 4-part Thanksgiving worked out very well in the end.
The week before, I cooked and stuffed an 18-lb turkey, just for us (and any visitors) to eat all month. As I mentioned in my last post, I’m quite food-centered, love to cook and share great meals, and miss having leftovers when we eat elsewhere for holidays. Though it may sound gluttonous, the 18 pounder was actually the smallest I could order from our local free-range farm, so what the heck- I turned it into a constant party. I believe in using every part of the bird, and make lots of soups and stocks, so we’ve been in turkey heaven and our freezer is full for the winter. (Oh, and yes, the cats got a taste too after waiting so politely for us to carve it up.)
The day before Thanksgiving, we volunteered to prepare a free community meal for 500 people with friends. It was great fun and I think we’ll keep that tradition going.
The actual day of Thanksgiving, we had lunch with Mom at her facility. Though they hadn’t listed it on the calendar, we found out just in time that a Thanksgiving meal was happening for the residents then. Mom couldn’t feed herself that day, so I helped. She gobbled everything up, and then announced, “That was the worst meal I’ve ever had.”
Even so, I considered it a big success. My husband and I had found a way to share a meal with her on Thanksgiving. She’s also a huge exaggerator and complainer. So in her language, her scathing comment translates to what you or I would call an “average” meal, which is what it was. Colorful, edible, tasty because of salt and sugar to mask the industrial food, but not anything you’d seek out twice. Another reason I didn’t worry too much about her disapproval was that I’d been bringing Mom turkey, stuffing, cranberries, and all of her other favorite Thanksgiving foods from our house each time I visited, which would continue for who knows how many more weeks, so I knew she wasn’t missing out too much.
For dinner we’d planned to take Mom along to my friend’s house that’s newly accessible because her parents moved in a few months ago, one of them dealing with health issues similar to Mom’s. But at the last minute Mom backed out, saying she didn’t want to be out in the cold or the dark.
It was both sad and a relief to not be able to include her, but after the dinner event was finally winding down at midnight, I realized it had actually been great fortune to not have had to worry about how to get Mom back to her place when she would have lost interest in the middle of the meal. She’s never been known for her patience or tact, whether in a state of dementia or lucidity.
The following day Mom didn’t remember anything about Thanksgiving. I’ve noticed that while her long-term memory and emotional memory is still very good, anything new and not too exciting is lost in her brain. That worked wonderfully. I didn’t have to hear more complaints about “the worst meal ever”, and life moved forward for all of us, as it should.