I didn't take a picture of the turkey this year. It was golden brown and picture perfect, truly worthy of a snapshot but the camera stayed on the countertop. It wouldn't have captured how juicy and delicious it was anyway. Some pronounced it the best ever. Alton Brown's brining recipe is worth the extra work.
I didn't take a photo of all the side dishes either. I could go back to any previous year when I did photograph them and they'd be the same. Mine is a family of traditionalist; there is no changing the holiday menu. Wayne figured the recipe for cranberry sauce, or cranberry jell as his grandmother called it, had to be more 70 years old as he couldn't remember a Thanksgiving without it.
I didn't capture the table, complete with the good china and Grandmother Arnall's crystal. They all sparkled with the reflection of the lights from the chandelier overhead and looked so festive. We don't eat in the dining room a lot so it always feels more special when we do. And those of us who sat at tables bedecked with the crystal decades ago enjoyed remembering those days and the family now gone who shared the table then.
I didn't record Wayne slicing the turkey and Brad sneaking a taste or Grandpa making sure Kayla got one too. It wasn't that it didn't happen...it does every year. It's as much traditional as the food and the crystal and everything else that makes up Thanksgiving at our house.
I should have taken a photo of the clock as we were ready to bless the food and dive in. It said 12:04pm, pretty good for me. I always aim for noon as the kids usually head to Melissa's parent's home my midafternoon but something always happens and I never make the self-imposed deadline. I did (essentially) this year but it wouldn't have mattered; everyone stayed at our house and ate leftovers for supper before heading off in different directions.
I resisted the urge snap a shot or two or three as they napped after dinner was over...Kayla on the couch, Brad in the recliner. She was building up a reserve of energy for Black Friday shopping although technically she and her mom were getting a jump on things by going Thanksgiving night. She loves it. And her excitement at all the bargains she found when she showed me later was almost contagious. I was just as happy staying far away from the malls.
I didn't even take a picture of Brad and Kayla huddled close together as they talked about Vines, Instagram and iMovie trailers. She was alternating between a big, full laugh that made me smile just watching her and texting her friends about her dad's vines and the trailer he was making. Her eyes danced and her entire face lit up. He was, of course, beaming that the old man could still delight his little princess, even if she is about to be nineteen. That one I regret. The bond between them, the magic of the moment...it would have been special to have captured it, and who knows how long it will be before these latest twists on social media are replaced by the next great thing. It could have made a great scrapbook page.
No, I didn't do any of those things. Instead I breathed it all in, fully present in what was taking place in my house, in my family and in my heart. And save the last one, I'm not sorry my camera stayed on the kitchen countertop. No picture would have captured how relaxed and complete our holiday has been and I'm glad I could see that with two eyes in person instead of one eye through the lens.