All the grandmas in heaven

I’m channeling my inner domestic goddess today, in preparation for the big Thanksgiving Extravaganza. This morning I’ve been cleaning and baking Grandma Jaggers’ famous orange rolls, a holiday tradition. As I work, I’m thinking of my grandmas and all the back breaking work they must have done over the years preparing holiday dinners. My grandmas are in heaven, of this I’m certain, watching me work, whispering, “you missed a spot,” “you’re not going to waste that, are you?” and “don’t do it if you’re not going to do it right.” They’re also smiling knowingly to each other, watching me kill myself for five days for a meal that will last 20 minutes and 39 seconds.

My Grandma Heroux (my dad’s mom) had 11 children. Imagine what it took to fix that feast, especially when the oldest kids started bringing home spouses and their own children. My mom told me that the family would eat in shifts and there was a whole day designated for pie baking.

My Granny Hig’s holiday was Christmas. If any person on earth was Santa, it was my Granny. She delighted in the shopping, the decorating and the giving. In Granny’s heaven, it’s always Christmas.

Because I joined the family when I was just 18, I think of Mark’s grandmas as my own. Grandma Jaggers departed for heaven last October. As I make her orange rolls I ask her, “does this look right? Are these too big? Will they taste like yours?” I hope so. I want my family to keep their memories any way they can.

The grandma that still with us, Ruby, will be really with us on Thanksgiving, flying in from St. Louis on Wednesday. I’m delighted that grandma and grandpa will get to see our new home and all of Charlottesville. It’s for this grandma that I clean spots in the house that no one will ever see. A meticulous housekeeper, it is for her that I’m making sure every speck of dust is vacuumed, wiped and polished away.

Oh please let my Thanksgiving live up to all the grandmas in heaven.

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