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"Keep him busy for a while," were the instructions from her mother regarding having her dad help with the holiday entertaining arrangements. 

The day before Thanksgiving I was busily preparing to host 20 people at my house when I got a call from my Mom.

“Are you going to have Dad come over to help you today?”

I had already run to Costco earlier that day (with Mom actually). I was finally starting to cook and clean and set up tables and chairs. Hmmmm, “Well, of course. Why not?”

“Keep him busy for a while,” was the last thing Mom said on the phone; and soon Dad was knocking at my door. Admittedly, I don’t know what I would have done without Dad’s help, but at that moment I was tired and didn’t know where to start. We decided to set up chairs and tables. This took several trips up and down the stairs and even a trip to Dad’s house to get another table. And there was my cute Father; running up and down stairs with table and chairs under his arms, like a teenager.

Two hours later we had the tables, chairs, tablecloths and place settings ready to go. Now I really had to start cooking. As tired as I was, I still had a dinner to prepare! There was Dad, sitting patiently at my kitchen counter, awaiting instructions from me. Growing up, I don’t remember Dad cooking anything except banana pancakes and fudge, but we could give this a try. I chopped onions. Dad sautéed. I opened cans and boxes. Dad stirred. Mom finally called and asked when Dad would be coming home. My response? “He can’t leave yet. He has more cooking to do.”

At that moment a memory flitted through my mind as I remembered a day almost a year earlier. Dad came over to help me bake Christmas goodies. Again, I chopped and measured. Dad stirred and taste tested. Mom called a few times to see when Dad was coming home. But he was busy helping me cook.

Mom eventually came over this Wednesday before Thanksgiving, to see what was taking so long. She found Dad wearing an apron, stirring something over the stove. This year we lovingly called him “the Help.” Granted, my sweet husband often dons an apron to be “the Help” when I am preparing to entertain a host of people. But sometimes it is just Dad and I, working together to build memories and holiday cookies.

Jennifer Sant is a Utah high school teacher, energy wellness coach mother of five and currently grandmother of ten. Contact her at