We’re spending Thanksgiving at Mom’s, which is a very small space for the number of people who will be there, and the kitchen is even tinier. So coordinating holiday dinners is always a little difficult, particularly since we are driving down the night before and staying at a nearby hotel (by the time this posts, we should be there, obviously). If we lived a lot closer, we’d be able to cook some things here the morning before, but that isn’t an option. The other extended family members who live nearby have various restrictions on their space and facilities, as well. A few years ago, Mom and I collaborated on ordering dinner from a local store which I picked up that morning. But it was… well… it wasn’t good. And the small town she is in doesn’t have any better options.
Which isn’t to say that the dinners haven’t been good and enjoyable. And as crowded as everything gets when we’re all crammed in at Mom’s small place, if we had more (shall we say) elaborate food, it would be even more difficult. It’s just that there is a part of me—primed by memories of epic childhood holiday dinners, plus a boatload of pop culture expectations, and memories of elaborate holiday dinners I’ve cooked as an adult—that keeps wanting it to be more. It’s emotional baggage, rather than any actual shortcoming of the event, right?
Which means that I have to spend a certain amount of time before the holiday psyching myself out to not be disappointed, and (perhaps more importantly) to not act as if I’m disappointed.
This year I’m responsible for the relish tray, a salad (specifically Mom wants me to make the salad my hubby dubbed Foofy Salad), and pies. All are things that are easy to transport and don’t need to be cooked or heated when we arrive. And it has the upside of leaving me certain that there will be pie. Later this weekend, we’ll be cooking a dinner with some of the traditional holiday dishes that we don’t get on the actual day.
Before I queue this up and finish packing, I want list some of the things I’m thankful for; if for no other reason to remind myself that there is still a lot of good in the world:
- my wonderful, handsome, sweet, smart, talented, and sexy husband
- people who love
- people who make art, stories, music, and other creative things
- radio and other wireless technology
- people who help other people
- my friends—wonderful, talented, nerdy, loving, and some of them nearly as crazy as me
- people who make things work
- my wonderful, talented, hard-working, handsome husband who inexplicably puts up with me (who absolutely deserves to be on this list more than once!)
- people who sweat the details
- people who don’t sweat the details
- my job
- satellites and space craft and telescopes
- my extended chosen family, which yes overlaps with several other times on this list (not just the third)
- technology that lets me carry my entire music library in my pocket, access the world’s libraries from the palm of my hand, read silly things people say halfway around the world, all while standing in the checkout line at the grocery store
- my family, yes even the most exasperating, because they’re part of what made me who I am, and I’m sure that I drive them just as crazy as they drive me
- people who clean up after disasters
- good food, drink, and opportunities to be merry
- my sexy husband who keeps me sane, fixes things I break, finds things I lose, and perhaps most importantly, inspires me to ignore my worst impulses and go high when others or the world goes low
Thank you, everyone who reads this. Whether you are celebrating Thanksgiving, I hope that you are surrounded by love. I hope your life contains more blessings than troubles. May you find joy, and may you know that you give others reason to be thankful.