tradition in 2020

thanksgiving is next week and i’ve been thinking a lot about tradition because, to me, tradition is really what dominates thanksgiving and the “holiday season.” tradition is the “every year we . . . ” story you tell people. tradition is the celebration of making it another year to do this again, and the proof that we are not alone – that we come from somewhere, that we are going somewhere. tradition is something that gives us a sense of normalcy which is something we haven’t had a lot of in 2020

thanksgiving was my mother’s favorite holiday (really the only one she cared about) and she always went overboard with the food – she always cooked a soup and had appetizers to start, there were potatoes done three different ways, 5 or more desserts, and the turkey weighed 20 something pounds. she’d get up at 3 in the morning or something like that to put the turkey in the oven on a low heat for a long time for the sake of tradition, and every year we had an overcooked, dry bird – but my mother did all of this because it was tradition, and it was how she knew to love us

this year, we aren’t gathering as a family. my mother is in a nursing home and isn’t going to be cooking but she’s confused enough to think she is going to cook, and a week ago when we talked, she told me she was going to make a lasagna this year. she always made a very traditional american meal for thanksgiving, and anytime anyone would suggest even an alternative dish she would shoot the idea down real fast, so lasagna definitely came out of left field – she would never, ever cook something like that for thanksgving.

the real tradition for me for thanksgiving was seeing my mother take such joy in choosing her menu, shopping for ingredients, and taking days to make a meal for all of us. this year she chose lasagna but she can’t make it, so i’m going to make a lasagna. my brother and some other members of my family are making lasagna, too, because we need a new tradition, and my mom gave us one.

(i’m going to make the sauce for my lasagna this weekend, and i’ll make a post with the recipe and some pictures in case you want to see how i make it – i’ll also do the same when i make the lasagna next thursday)