The first time I ever cooked Thanksgiving dinner on my own, my mom was several hundred miles away. I was a brand new wife, preparing turkey and all the trimmings for my in-laws in a tiny one-bedroom apartment (what was I thinking?!)—and I must have called my mom a dozen times that day.
How many hours does this bird need to thaw? Are yams and sweet potatoes the same thing? What on earth is a roux?
Even as a twentysomething, full-grown, married woman, I needed my mom.
The new holiday ad from Publix released just in time for Thanksgiving gets it.
The commercial opens with a woman alone in her kitchen, preparing ingredients on the counter. Her phone buzzes nearby, and she excitedly answers a call from her daughter. “Hey, Mom,” the caller says, from her own kitchen. “How’s it going?” the mother asks.
“Did Nana’s stuffing have rosemary or thyme?” her daughter asks. “Both,” her mom answers. Then we watch the two prepare meals in their respective kitchens, chatting and laughing easily, despite the presumable miles between them.
As the ad comes to a close, the woman tells her daughter, “It’s a little quiet, just me and Dad . . . we miss you.”
As company arrives at the daughter’s home and the two hang up their latest call, we see the older couple sitting at their Thanksgiving table alone. “Hasn’t she made that stuffing like a million times before?” the father asks. The mother gives a knowing smile as we see her daughter touch the worn, handwritten recipe card back in her bustling kitchen.
Even though we grow up and leave the nest, a piece of our hearts is always back in our childhood home for the holidays. Growing up gives us roots, and after we’re grown we still draw strength through them. Sometimes it looks like a dozen Thanksgiving Day phone calls for answers we could have Googled instead. It’s really not about the oven temperature or the gravy recipe, anyway—it’s about connection.
And the older I get, the more I truly understand: I’ll always need my mom.