Thanksgiving…….let the competition begin!
No, surely not – surely no one is competing over who has the most home-cooked food, the most guests, the cleanest house, the most elaborate napkin rings. Surely not.
Really? Oh, you know it happens. I know. Been there, done that. Pride, not pleasure, in providing the nice meal and hosting the family gathering. Not every year, but some years, that pride and one-upmanship has crept in. Why do women do that to each other? We will leave that topic for another day, for today, though – Thanksgiving.
For the last several years, I have hosted the family Thanksgiving, and I have enjoyed it. There are fifteen of us, everyone brings something, we do buffet-style with the casual plates – it is as simple and easy as you can get for fifteen people. It helps that we all live in the same area, so there is no pressure to make the most of the day, cram all the eating and fellowship into one day. It is still a lot of work, though, and as much as I looked forward to it, I was also glad when everyone left and I could finally rest.
This year, that was the plan again. But you know, as it got closer and closer…..I just didn’t feel like doing it. I have been busy this fall. Good busy, but still busy. I have chosen to host a LOT at my house. Science co-op every week, Labor Day party, Geography Club, Game Day, an air soft war, plus various “come on over for lunches”. We’ve also been running-running with fellowships, field trips, outings with friends, camping trips….and I am tired. It is a good tired, but still, I know when I am running out of juice. So, as Thanksgiving was coming up, I began to not look forward to it, but to look forward to it being over.
That usually doesn’t make for the best of parties, you know?
Last week, I talked to my sister-in-laws. Three of our family is going to be out of town over Thanksgiving, which brings us down to twelve. I had an idea..I asked the other sister-in-law, my mom, my mother-in-law, and they all agreed.
We are all going to Ryan’s for dinner for Thanksgiving. After dinner, we are going to my in-laws’ to hang out for a while. (They live closest, and her house is already clean, you know!).
I know this is not traditional – I promise, I am not boycotting Thanksgiving. We are also not becoming Communist, the other opinion that was (jokingly, I hope) expressed. I have noticed too, that the only people who have questioned this plan are MEN who are not doing the cleaning/shopping/planning/cooking for their families’ meal, but I digress. We will leave that for another day, as well. We are also not doing this because no one invited us over, I promise. We have CHOSEN this for today.
So really, what is wrong with going to Ryan’s? No one has to clean. The food is already there. No one has to do dishes. We get to eat together, enjoy each other’s company, and then relax together afterwards. I have no big expectations of Thanksgiving, no traditions that must.be.upheld.no.matter.what. I am not putting a lot of weight on making this “the best year ever” or anything. It is a day to relax, to think of God’s mercy and goodness to us, to praise Him. To enjoy being with family, wherever that may take place. I cannot reflect on the peace of the Lord when I am frantically cleaning my baseboards. Or yelling at the kids for not helping. Or hot-gluing my centerpiece together, one eye always on the clock because, “It is almost time for them to get here!” Right now I would already be off and running, if everyone was showing up here. I would be exhausted from yesterday as well.
But instead, I have a whole day off, and I had yesterday off, too. Actually, I have had the whole week off. Since I was not mentally overwhelmed with all the things I “needed to do” I had time to make and deliver dinner to a family with a new baby. I got to have breakfast with a group of ladies, and then do a little shopping with a friend, to get my hair done and hang out and chat at the beauty shop. I did not have to spend yesterday frantically cooking and cleaning. I puttered about, got caught up on laundry and some paperwork, and then cooked a little food and went to a church fellowship. Today I slept in a little. Later this morning Nevin and I will process the deer he got last weekend, and then we will head out to dinner. It is a treat, to get to go out, everyone always says so, so why not on Thanksgiving?
I said, “Why not on Thanksgiving?” Why not, indeed.