The bread crumbs are drying out, and the turkey is thawing in its cold water bath.
I have all my vegetables — yams, red potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, celery, green beans — and a can of jellied cranberry sauce picked out and stashed in the refrigerator
I have a tube of ready-made croissants also chilling near the butter that’s a main ingredient for the stuffing.
It’s Thanksgiving morning, and I have my work cut out for me. I’ll start prepping in about an hour… melting the butter and sauteeing the celery with herbs for the stuffing… rinsing out the turkey and making sure it’s fully thawed… getting the giblets out and tossing them in a pot of salty water to simmer… cutting up the vegetables to roast with the turkey and in a separate dish on the side… stirring in the bread cubes… and then putting it all together to sit in the oven for 4 hours.
The fact that I can think all this through and have a good sense of the “flow” of things is testament to my TBI recovery. Years ago, I couldn’t even figure out how to reliably cook a full meal, let alone an entire Thanksgiving Day feast. It’s taken years of practice to not only get my pacing together, but also not lose my cool over things going wrong.
This year, I planned ahead. I prepped and did shopping several days in advance. I thought it all through, over and over, made my lists, and got myself set up to just relax yesterday before doing all of this today. I also have a roasting pan for the turkey, which I didn’t have last year. Last year, I completely spaced out on getting a foil roasting pan, and I spent Thanksgiving morning in search of a grocery store that had them. I was unsuccessful, but I did figure out that I could use one of my really big casserole dishes as a backup.
Then, after that potential disaster was averted, I just bought myself a roasting pan. Problem solved for posterity.
And it’s good. This year is good. I’m still really fatigued from the last few weeks of work, and I’m having trouble sleeping (and napping), but I’m in a good space. And that’s what matters. Because I can’t always control how I’m feeling (or how I’m sleeping), so the next best thing is to keep my cool and just deal with whatever comes along. Without drama. Without undue pain and suffering.
It’s all any of us can ask for, I think.
So, on this day of giving thanks, I am grateful. If you’re celebrating today, have a very Happy Thanksgiving. And if you’re not, I still wish you a most excellent day.