We will be 21 for dinner tonight. Which means, I get to indulge in one of my other passions — cooking and entertaining. On Wednesday night, Alexis and my friend Tamz created the place cards, last night C.C. and I re-organized the furniture and set up the extra table we’ll need to seat that many. I’ve made my list, done the grocery shopping, prepared the stuffing, the custard for the trifle, and the cranberry jelly. The onions are in the oven roasting as are the sweet potatoes for my Sweet Potato Pear puree. The brussel spouts are cleaned, C.C. is set to peel the potatoes and I’m ready to bake bread before the turkey goes in the oven.
I promised my daughter.
To make my special bread.
It is her favourite and she is willing to forgo her gluten free lifestyle to sample my bread. “I had decided not to make it so that you wouldn’t be tempted,” I told her when she announced her decision.
“Oh no mom. It’s not Christmas without your cheese braid.”
Traditions are important. They tie us together, they keep our hearts close. I will be making my cheese braid again this year. And a trifle and two vegetarian dishes and two vegan ones too to ensure all our children feel included at the table.
It is an early Christmas. Alexis flew in last Friday with her partner and he returned to Vancouver on Monday while she stayed the week to savour Christmas in the snow. Oh, and with her family and friends too. They will spend Christmas day with his family while here we’ll have a quieter meal with my sister, brother-in-law, mother and C.C. and our children.
But for today, I’ve got a lot to do. Many dishes to bake before tonight’s extravaganza.
I am happy.
I love to gather family and friends around a table and share in the laughter and love that accompanies every mouthful, funny remark and sideways glance. Tonight, while this is ‘family Christmas’ it includes as it always does, newcomers to the table as well as old and dear friends.
Justine and Taylor who performed at the Christmas at the Madison concert will be joining us. “How do I get invited to join in your family?” Justine asked Alexis at the concert. “You come for dinner Friday night!” she said. And they are.
My ‘other son’, who is actually my dearest friend Jane’s son, is bringing his girlfriend whom we haven’t met and CJ, his sister is bringing her beau who came to The Madison to help with Thanksgiving dinner earlier in the fall. Junior is off on basic training with the military and is home for the holidays. What fun to have him here!
And then there’s Tyson, my very special son whom the girls befriended a few years ago and whom I’ve adopted. A family meal would not be complete without him.
And Ula and Andrew and Tamz and jane and Al and my wonderful friends Randy and Keri whom Liseanne, my youngest daughter invited at the concert as well. And C.C. and his son and daughter and son’s girlfriend and me and.. am I forgetting anyone?
Oh well, if I have, as always happens in our household, there’s always room for one more at the table, and always enough food for an army!
Gotta run. The oven’s on and I’ve got things to do.
Have a blessed day. May your heart be light, your spirit bright and your soul be filled with loving.