Florida Women's Law Group - November 2019



Advocate November 2019


Thanksgiving at Grandma’s To this day, I can’t think of Thanksgiving without thinking of my grandmother. She ran the show when I was growing up, orchestrating the largest gathering of our relatives year after year. My mother didn’t have a very large family, but, when extended relatives came in for the feast, the house still felt very full! But, despite the crowd, my grandmother insisted on doing everything. The kitchen was basically off limits in those days. Even when I got old enough to be a real help, my grandmother would chase me out, putting me in charge of assigning seating — the only task she was comfortable delegating. She didn’t just create this task for fun, either. Thanksgiving at Grandma’s house was a formal affair. It’s strange; normally, my family were pretty laid back “beach people.” But come the last Thursday of November, everyone wore dresses and button ups. I have distinct memories of my grandmother in a beautiful blouse setting out the fancy tableware — even the kids’ table had a candelabra. Where other families watched football and feasted at mid-day, our dinner was at dinnertime, and there was not a television in sight. While this might sound stiflingly formal, those Thanksgivings are some truly happy memories from my childhood. I always looked forward to spending time with aunts, uncles, and cousins I didn’t get to see the rest of the year. Those meals meant so much to me even if I didn’t care for the food. I know this isn’t a popular opinion, but I just don’t like the standard Thanksgiving spread. Bland turkey and canned cranberry “sauce” that’s more

like gelatin? No thank you. No offense to my grandmother, but it wasn’t until I had Thanksgiving with my mother-in-law that I saw the food could be made delicious. Homemade sides and brined turkey make an amazing difference. After my grandmother passed, I took up the mantle of Thanksgiving host, having loved ones over and cooking up a storm. Much like her, I had the kids handle the seating arrangements and tended to keep things on the formal side. Unlike my grandmother, however, I am much keener to delegate work to anyone willing to lend a hand. I don’t know how she did it on her own! We did end up taking a break from hosting for the last few years. Sometimes it’s just nice to head over to a relative’s house and put your feet up. But this year we’ll be picking the tradition back up, and I’m excited to get cooking. While working on pie crusts and brining the turkey, I’m sure I’ll be thinking back fondly on the woman who did so much work to bring our family together year after year. I know for many of you reading this, the holidays may be more challenging than normal, especially if you have kids. Many of my clients are concerned that splitting up could ruin the magic of this season for their children. I can’t speak for everyone, but, as a child of divorce, I can say the only thing that has stuck with me over the years is the warm memories of love and togetherness my grandmother created year after year. Whether it’s with close friends or relatives, simply being with those who care about you is the best Thanksgiving recipe I know.

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“I have distinct memories of my grandmother in a beautiful blouse setting out the fancy tableware — even the kids’ table had a candelabra.”

-Heather Qu ick




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