It's the seemingly little things that throttle me back into the harshness of my reality. Tonight I was folding laundry, and when I came to the dinner napkins there were only three of each pattern. Everything about a meal at home makes me ache for him, but the napkin thing especially tugs at my sense of balance.
I always bought napkins in sets of four.
Now I only need three on normal evenings.
That fourth, lonely napkin sits cast aside in the drawer until it is needed every third day. By the third day there are three mismatched napkins, longingly waiting to be put to good use.
Those mismatched napkins remind me everyday that there is a piece of our family missing. They gather in the draw, and seem to scream at me every time I open it—"he is never coming back".
Then the third day comes, and all is as it should be—napkins in sets of four, together again. Of course, our life doesn't go back to normal. Mikey does not suddenly reappear. But the napkins are in order. Something is in order, and as it should be for a change.
Those moments are the sense of control I crave.
I gave much thought to Thanksgiving this year. Should I go far away? Should I cook? Should I go to a friend's nearby? In the end, I realized I needed to retain some sort of control. If I chased myself from the kitchen, that would solve nothing.
I'm worried how it will feel to roast the turkey, knowing there is no one to shoo away from the crackly, golden skin. Hopefully I'll get the spice scented cranberry sauce going tomorrow—he would sneak into the fridge and eat spoonfuls of it. The stuffing is something Mikey always lovingly prepared, and I'm not yet sure if I will make it. I'm going to make that call closer to Thursday.
Last year, I made a new dessert for Thanksgiving and Mikey loved it. Todd and Diane can vouch for it too, since they made their version of it recently. It was a brown butter apple pie, and yes, it's as amazing as it sounds—plus it doesn't require much more effort than a regular apple pie. You just brown some butter to add a warm, toffee-like flavor to filling. I'm going to make that pie again, but perhaps adjust the salt, since I'm sure they'll be a few tears in the filling too.