One of our family traditions that arose spontaneously a few years ago is PIE NIGHT. It's basically what all of us kids-at-heart want: pie for dinner! We savor the treat of having dessert first, gathering around the table on Thanksgiving Eve to sample all the fruits of our baking labor.
When our boys were little, I tried to engage them in the Thanksgiving food preparations, showing them how to roll out the dough and inviting them to stir up the ingredients. As the tantalizing aroma of pies consumed our little Kansas kitchen, the questions of "when do we get to eat these?" became more and more frequent.
As we were waiting for my hubby to get home from work and cleaning up the pie baking mess, my thoughts turned to dinner. Those pies lined up along the counter beckoned from their perches on various baking racks...
I called out to the boys, "Who wants pie for dinner?" They all came running and suddenly got very industrious helping me set the table. They were delighted - and a bit amazed - that our only dinner item was PIE...and that they got to have multiple pieces of different flavors.
I thought I had pulled off a fun moment one time, but the next year as the Thanksgiving holiday approached, they began asking "Mommy, when's PIE Night??"
Traditions get woven into our family lore in different ways. This one arrived with a flurry of flour dust and little fingers snatching tastes of pie fillings swirling in mixing bowls.
This year's PIE Night has a different flavor.
I'm missing my Mom and all the times she was beside me in the kitchen, laughing through the mess of her cherry cobbler overflowing in the oven and sharing stories of ingredients she forgot. To honor her memory, I'm using her pie plates and passing along some of her pie-making tips to my boys.
Our Chinese exchange student is in the mix with us this year, learning all about our crazy PIE Night traditions and graciously stepping up to the counter to join in the frenzy of preparations.
My college son arrived in the wee morning hours and my husband flew in this afternoon...just in time to help with last-minute prep and a parade of dishes on the counter. We snatched a few moments outside on the porch swing before family and friends arrived.
I learned another layer of PIE Night...if we step outside to quiet ourselves before the hubbub of pie-eating, we get to experience the wonderful mix of baking aromas and raucous sounds of ping-pong wafting through the house as we re-enter. Somehow in that step back into the full house, I felt a harmonious click resonate inside me... home and family; love and belonging.
Thank you, Lord, for these blessings.
This is how we move forward through grief and family hardships: we open ourselves up to the tenderness of stepping into well-worn traditions of familiarity and comfort while lacing up to journey into new experiences that bring us a glimmer of healing. We navigate through emotional triggers with hugs, quiet moments on the porch, laughter, whispered prayer...and maybe another piece of pie.
Whatever your particular family traditions have been or are becoming, I hope you're able to savor the mingling of memories past, the fullness of present joys, and the anticipation of future hopes to build upon year after year!
Happy Thanks-Giving, my friends. ❤️