Of all of the holidays, I’m certain Thanksgiving is my favorite. I do love Christmas as well, but as a mother of six, that holiday fills me with throat-constricting anxiety. I’m usually too on edge and antsy to fully enjoy the reason we celebrate that precious day. There’s too much to do and too many places to be. It’s a cyclone of commercialized chaos and I’m somehow supposed to make sweet, everlasting memories for our kids somewhere in between the shopping and exhaustion. I typically end up frazzled and grumpy. I blink and it’s December 26 and I’m disappointed because, once again, I did a crap job at making my attitude and actions different this year. There’s also the ever-looming gift disappointment from one or more kids. No living, breathing pony or MacBook Pro again this year, kid(s) — sorry not sorry.
Thanksgiving, though. That’s a holiday I can get behind. It’s centered around food and being grateful and food. I like those things very much. I’m fortunate that my mom still makes a drool-worthy spread and all I have to do is provide a side dish or bread product. There’s zero expectation for me to deliver anything magnificent or even average. My mom’s Thanksgiving meal is the same year after year and I find great comfort in its constancy. In fact, in all of my 41 years, I can recall only one unsatisfying Thanksgiving — it’s when someone made a turducken instead of just a regular ‘ol turkey. What freaky sadist came up with a turducken? Repulsive.
My family of eight, plus whoever else would like to join us, just shows up with us at my mom’s house with our puny contribution and we eat. By “eat” I mean cram as much food into our greedy little mouths as possible until we feel that certain death is just ‘round the corner. Pants are unbuttoned and bellies are rubbed. All color begins to drain from our fat, fat faces. People fart. The feeling of nausea miraculously dissipates when the cakes and confections come out, though. Everyone finds just enough room for a slice of pie or six. We are feeling even more barfy now. We enjoy each other’s company, wash dishes, watch a little football and then pack up and head home.
Maybe it’s the tryptophan coursing through my veins, but it’s around this time that I start getting the sentimental feels. “We should really do this more often — for no good reason,” I’ll think to myself. And I mean it. I love my family and things can change so quickly. We ought to huddle together and express our mutual admiration, like, weekly and there should be brownies involved. But then life gets in the way. There are meetings and homework. School functions and just plain tiredness. And if no one makes the brownies, I’m out.
It’s during this season that I, like many people, begin taking stock of my life. Acknowledging what we find valuable and meaningful to us shouldn’t really wait until Thanksgiving or, worse, we’re on our death beds. I’m guessing that most of us are thankful for many of the same things: friends, family, our jobs, our homes. This year, I’m going to challenge myself to be grateful for the headaches of everyday life. When I’m tempted to complain, scoff, roll my eyes or flip a bird, instead, I’m going to try to find gratitude in that instance.
— Waking up late because I set my alarm for p.m. instead of a.m.; I woke up.
— Pissed the “delay brew” function on my coffee maker didn’t work; I have coffee… in 10 minutes.
— Aggravated the bus arrived five minutes early and a kid is still brushing teeth; the bus showed up.
— Complaining that it’s too hot/cold/stuffy/stanky in the house; I have a house.
— Grumbling about a gummy bear stuck in the carpet; I have kids to buy gummy bears for.
— Bitching about the line at Target; thank you, Lord, for Target and of all her splendidness.
— Griping about kid’s homework; they have amazing, invaluable teachers who assign homework.
— Feeling guilty that I didn’t get everything done today; I can fix my alarm and try again tomorrow.
To stop feeling peevish and begin feeling appreciative takes effort. I’m certain I’ll fail my own challenge several times a day. Although I am joyful by nature, it is all too easy to bitch and bellyache than to give pause and be thankful. Us humans, we like to complain.
So although some days will be trying and cruel and I’ll feel like the chicken which was crammed into the butt of a duck which was crammed into the butt of a turkey which is then called a turducken, Dang it, I’m going to try to find something good about being that chicken in the butt of a duck in the butt of a turkey. This may take a while… so far I can’t imagine anything positive.
Also, good news Woodchips! When it’s time for me to be in charge of our Thanksgiving meal, I’m baking a plain-ass turkey. No turducken. Repulsive.