Will You Stick Your Neck Out?
This Thanksgiving are you willing to ruffle some feathers?
A couple of years ago I had to come to terms with the idea that I was really starting to resent Thanksgiving. I love the "idea" of Thanksgiving and laughter with friends and family and the "calories don't count" feasting and noshing. But the reality of 12 hours trapped in the kitchen prepping/cleaning/cooking/cleaning/serving/cleaning while everyone else was relaxed and enjoying the day was starting to wear on me.
My "a-ha" moment was when a hungry muncher cruised through the kitchen. I was up to my elbows in turkey carcass salvaging the leftovers. In between handfuls of Chex Mix, Mr. Muncher asked when was I going to come "hang out." Well, the turkey wasn't going to take care of itself and I still had a mountain of oversized dishes to hand wash. But, that was when I had a moment of clarity. My answer...."next year." I happily tidied up the kitchen and then announced to the family that I was breaking up with Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving and I would still be friends with pumpkin pie benefits, but I was no longer going to be shackled to the endless chores associated with the holiday.
I miss the cooking and creating. I don't miss finally getting to sit down at the dinner table for about 5 minutes covered in flour, gravy and potato smears wondering if anyone can tell I didn't get time for a shower (and did I ever brush my teeth??) after getting up at 4am to get the turkey in the oven and pies made.
My mother in law told me the day would come when I would be happy to turn the day over to someone else. I am. I just want the volunteers that have offered to invade my kitchen to completely grasp the knowledge that the dinner consists of way more than just "preparation." It also includes carefully planning out the meal so that ALL of it is ready at the time everyone is expecting to sit down and dig in...or you will never hear the end of it! There is also the harsh reality that while everyone else is lolling about moaning about how they ate too much the real clean up work is just beginning.
Don't get me wrong, I was always very happy to roll out the turkey day feast for a crowd of approx 30+ each year. I'll never forget the year when I was about 7 months pregnant and the meal was just about on the table and I got a "surprise!!" My in-laws showed up with a bunch of new friends. Since they knew that I always "cooked like I was feeding an army," they had invited a dance troope they'd just met at the airport who's flight had been cancelled - that year I fed 60+ people. We didn't have leftovers.
Now my tradition is to be nontraditional. Since my kids have significant others I am sensitive to the fact that their SO's families might have traditions that they don't want to disrupt. So, I encourage them to do what they want to with their SO's families on all major holidays and then we play "catch up" and get together on another non-holiday date. It makes for a much more relaxing time and then we don't have to set a "timer" on the visit because they have to rush off to the next house.
Do you love your Thanksgiving traditions?
Or do you think some of your family's traditions are too rigid and cause extra stress?
I'd love to see your comments on our 107.9 Lite FM facebook page.