New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author
Shelley Shepard Gray

Our First Thanksgiving

Posted Nov 19 2010, 8:13 am

Anyone who talks to me for very long knows I’ve been feeling a bit nostalgic this year. Actually, I’m been pretty melancholy.  Our children are getting older, and soon they’ll both be in college.  And though that’s wonderful, it’s also kind of hard.

What’s happening to my husband and me is the same as what happens to every other mom or dad since…well, forever, I guess. See, we are having quite a time getting used to things around here changing.

Which is really kind of silly. Because, to tell you the truth, things already have changed! I’m spending more time than ever with my husband, and we are enjoying that. I love having older kids, too.  Now I don’t have to be a parent as much as a listener. And, boy do I love their stories.

However, this upcoming holiday is going to be a big adjustment. For the first time ever, my son won’t be home for Thanksgiving. He’s going to stay at college and go to the football game. I didn’t whine a bit when he told me. In fact, I told him I understood.

But now that we’re counting down to T-day, I’m pretty blue. So blue that I’ve refused to make a turkey (Granted, I made a turkey dinner when my son came home last month). But next week, symbolically, I’m making standing rib roast. I just can’t make a turkey dinner for three instead of four.

It will be our first ‘new’ kind of Thanksgiving.

Which, of course, makes me remember another first Thanksgiving, the first one my husband and I had together.

Let me set the stage. We were in our starter home north of Dallas. We had a Gigantic video camera that you practically had to rest on your shoulder to use. (remember those?)  Tom and I spent most of the day making our first holiday meal.

When the big moment came to carve the bird, I was holding the camera and taping my husband.  He began carving, then fussing with the bird. Then, next thing you knew-out came a plastic bag! Yep, we’d had no idea that there were bags in turkeys, and consequently, we roasted ours to perfection.

We have this moment on videotape, and it never fails to make me laugh.  Tom, with this horrified, puzzled look on his face, holding a very warm bag of giblets. Me- screeching in a very  high, very thick Texas twang-‘Oh, Tom!’

I have to say, though our cooking skills had a lot to be desired, we enjoyed our first Thanksgiving very much. I have a feeling we’ll enjoy the standing rib roast, too.

Perhaps I should tape this meal as well-just to remind myself that life still goes on… no matter what. And that change is good. Even if it isn’t perfectly cooked, prepared or planned. For that, I’m very thankful.

I hope all of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving, too.

With blessings,




18 responses to “Our First Thanksgiving”

  1. joanne wheeler says:

    What a blessing to read your blog. I had to laugh because I did the same thing with my first turkey. It was not my first thanksgiving . On that day , we were kids just newly married, 3,000 miles from home and oh so young. We were in US AIRFORCE (my husband) and no money. So i fixed SPAM with little cloves stuck in it and crushed pineapple on top. WHAT A MEMORY.. blessing

  2. Joanne Noble says:

    Thanks for sharing yours Shelley.
    Our first Thanksgiving, fortunately for us, was spent at my inlaw’s.
    Also fortunately for us, we come from a family of cooks and knew to remove Tom’s innards. 🙂 My brother, though, that’s another story. LOL

    Shelley, we too have gone through a change the last year. My oldest has moved out and my middle guy has a girlfriend. My husband worked away from home this year, so we spent Thanksgiving at my brother’s inaw’s (just me and 2 of my kids). We usually alternate turkey with roast for Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner.
    We now find ourselves asking…”who’s going to be here this year? as our boys have girlfriends to spend time with.

    We will be celebrating Thanksgiving with our American friends this coming week as hubby is home and missed his turkey dinner.

    Happy Thanksgiving to all of my friends south of the border.

    • Shelley says:

      Joanne, thank you for stopping by. My goodness, what a year you’ve had. I bet it’s very hard to be away from your husband so much.

      I hope you’ll get to spend some time with your boys this weekend. And I hope you’re not too cold in Canada!

  3. Will Carpenter says:

    They, our children, will always be there. They will always come home. There will always be love. We are good parents. They know that. They know our love. As far as each other? You and your husband? Find ‘Acorns’! What do I mean? Michele, was off one weekday. Wanted to do something different. I took her to the park. I took us to the swings! We slid down sliding boards! We swished through colored leaves. I looked up through the tops of orange yellow and red topped oak tree’s and perfectly blue skies, and thanked God for everything. Bent over and found an ‘Acorn’ Michele found another and I’m looking at them as I type. God is so good! Happy Thanksgiving!
    Again, with all my best.
    Your Friend

  4. Shelley says:

    And to you, too, Tonya! Hope you have a great weekend with your family!!

  5. Brittany says:

    I hope that you have a great Thanksgiving anyways! 🙂

  6. Nancy Waldemer says:

    Happy Thanksgiving Shelly!
    I will remember my first as I didnt think about it being our 1st anniversary.I invited everyone from both sides of the families. We had a wonderful time and was glad everyone was there to share our first year together.
    Both our sons are gone out of state with families of their own but neither forgets to call to tell us what all they are Thankful for and that is what matters most.It is hard at first(empty nest) but a blessing to see who they become.

    • Shelley says:

      Nancy, I love that Thanksgiving is right around your anniversary! How fun to celebrate two things on one day! I bet that first anniversary was very special.

      You are very wise to remind me about those blessings. My mother-in-law years ago told me that the goal of parenting is to raise good, independent people. She’s a pretty smart lady!

  7. Jeanette says:

    The first Thanksgiving meal that I prepared I cooked at my home, then loaded the entire meal (turkey and all) in my car and took it to my parents home.

    My father had just had quadruple bypass heart surgery and was released from the hospital that day.

    What a day it was. Their car broke down and the man at the garage stayed until it was fixed. How kind of him. His wife showed up unhappy bcause he was late for their meal but my mother overheard him telling his wife that my father had just had heart surgery and he was staying until the car was fixed. We were very thankful for him. Thanksgiving dinner that year turned out to be supper.


    • Shelley says:

      Jeanette, that’s such a wonderful story! There really are so many people in the world who are very caring.

      I am also smiling, trying to imagine that turkey in transit!

  8. Debbi Sprang says:

    Hi Shelley,
    I understand how quickly our lives changes through the years. I have been almost married 21 years next week. My twins are now 19 years old and in college. (I can’t be that old!) They both go to a local college and drive back and forth. They both are working and leaving at all hours of the night. How time changes so many things. Were did my little twins go? I have a 13 year old that is growing up way to fast. This has been the hardest year yet for him…3 hospital stays and in August we had our worse nightmare when he didn’t even no his name. I am happy to report ..with many times a day on my knees pleading with our Lord…to fix Caleb and give us the wisdom how to fix him. Three weeks ago we got our miracle and our answer. Caleb started on pro-bodics and enzymes and his seizures are melting a way. My son is starting to get his life back. So many things we take for granted. This Thanksgiving brings on a whole new meaning!!! Thank you Lord for the miracle that we just received.
    I love your books….they have helped me escape when my life has been so hard…

    • Shelley says:


      Thank you so much for sharing the news about your son. I’m so glad the new medicines are helping Caleb!

      Jeanette, your words are so true-God certainly does answer prayers!

      And Debbi, you raised twin boys! Oh my goodness! I bet you had quite a few very busy years! How cute were they at Christmas?

      God bless you, Debbi. Thank you for your note.

  9. Jeanette says:

    Shelley and Debbi

    This entry is for Debbi. Debbi, I feel compelled to write. God does answer prayers! I am so glad that your son is improving. I will keep him (and your family) in my prayers also.


  10. Patti Ravensberg says:

    Hello Shelley. I have had your book Grace on hold at the library for awhile and I just was able to pick it up the other day. Last night at 10:30 I started to read it and I could not put it down. I was finnished in 4 hours. I really enjoyed it and needless to say I shed tears while reading it. I have read other Christmas books over the years but yours has been the best Christmas book I have ever read. My husband and I do not give each other gifts at Christmas anymore we just do things throughout the year, but I must say reading your book has been a gift to me for this Christmas. As I have said before God sure has given you a real gift in writing. I noticed your Thanksgiving Blog and I hope that your day today was a good one and filled with many Blessings. In Canada we celebrate Thanksgiving on October the 11th. It was a difficult one for our family this year because we lost my Dad last October 28th so it was just after our Thanksgiving. My Mom and Dad would have been married 60 years this November 28th so you can see why it was so hard for us all. Christmas will not be any easier for us. We are a small familly it is just my Mom and my brother and his wife and two children and then there is my husband and my son and myself. All our other family is in Holland and most of them has passed away. We have never had grandparents around or cousins or Aunts or Uncle’s and I always really missed that, so when I read your books I feel like I am part of a bigger family for awhile.

    God Bless You Shelley

    Yours in CHrist


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