Mom: I'm not really sure what to do about Thanksgiving this year. It just wipes me out so badly that I'm exhausted all day and it takes me days to recover.
Me: Well, would you like to have Thanksgiving at my house? You can sit and give directions, and I'll do all the cooking.
Mom: Oh... I don't think I want to do that. I really don't like being out on the highway - I don't want to be on 84 that day.
Me: You know, we don't HAVE to get together. We could give it a pass this year.
Mom: Oh no! We can't do that!
So she and I agreed that we would have Thanksgiving down there. I would make pies and yams and bring them down, she would make the stuffing and get the bird in that morning, dad would clean and chop the potatoes, and I would make the gravy. (Just like usual.) Somewhere along the line we invited my father-in-law, and we planned for Erica and Justin since we don't usually hear if they're coming or not until we're less than 48 hours out.
This morning Bob and I got in our separate cars and headed out - him to pick up his dad, and Charlotte and I to head straight down. I was met at the door by my mother... still in her nightgown. Quoth her "You guys are on your own - I woke up feeling awful and I'm down for the count." Um... okay. I'm still not sure what was going on - she doesn't seem to be coming down sick. I think it was a combination of stressing herself out and an admission that she'd missed her medication last night. But either way, I did a LOT more cooking than I'd been anticipating.
Dad wrangled the turkey - wrong, according to my mother, and I covered the rest. Yams just needed to be heated up - I'd cooked them on Wednesday and just put the whole pot in the fridge, so it just went on heat on a burner. The bird, as usual, got done an hour earlier than anticipated, so I threw the potatoes on to boil and started working on the gravy. Veggies went on when the potatoes came off the boil, just in time to provide potato water for the gravy, and I assigned my husband the mashed potatoes. It turns out Bob makes fantastic mashed potatoes. Who knew? He's going to regret letting us find that out - I think he's in charge of them from now on. As all that got done dad came and disassembled the turkey, I put the extra casserole of dressing in the oven, and we sat down to eat.
Needless to say, during all of this effort by everyone to cook dinner since mom wasn't feeling well, mom was in the kitchen most of the time. For a woman who didn't feel well enough to cook, she felt plenty well enough to be underfoot. I'm going to remind her of that next year... and she'll deny the whole thing.
Dinner was fine - everything was tasty, and I successfully made excellent gravy without my mother hanging over my shoulder. I've also got a really good grasp of the timing now, which is the part that always flummoxes me. We visited for a while, had pie, and headed out when the weather turned on us - as I climbed up in elevation towards home I watched the temperature on the car thermometer dropping. It was raining and reading 34 when Charlotte and I pulled in the driveway, which is a good time to get off the road.
I'm wiped out though. I was expecting to help with the cooking, not do most of it, and wasn't expecting a day on my feet. It's a nice feeling of accomplishment, though (even though my mother DID short me on leftover stuffing.)
Now I'm going to succumb to the turkey coma - and for the record, I will have nothing to do with Black Friday. I'm going to sit with my feet up in the morning, and go to a friend's house in the afternoon.