Thanksgiving Day already. Where has the year gone?

I hung out in my kitchen last night, an activity I find myself enjoying immensely more than ever before. Maybe it’s an age thing.

First thing after I came home from work, I had boxes to unpack. I had a Pampered Chef party a couple of weeks ago. (For those not in the know, this is one of those home party businesses that sells kitchen products.) The merchandise arrived yesterday and Kacey, who is home for the holiday weekend, helped me separate and sort all of that fun kitchen stuff. We bagged up the orders for the guests first, and then gathered up all of my stuff. The beauty of hosting one of these shows in your home, is that as the hostess, you earn free and discounted products based on the amount of purchases made by the guests. And I did quite well. My kitchenware has been nicely refreshed just in time for the big cooking and baking season. (de-I, you will be pleased to know that I now own a set of stainless steel mixing bowls!)

After a quick dinner, I set out to prepare some things for Thanksgiving dinner at my sister’s home today. I made a cream cheese filled pumpkin roll for dessert and a snack mix to keep the hungry guests at bay until dinner is ready to be served.

In between all of this activity, I spoke with my sister, who called in a panic. It seems the requisite episode of family dysfunction had occurred in the form of a phone call with one of the brothers. Hearing her side of the story, it seemed he was upset over nothing. I’m guessing some kind of stress – work, family, life, who knows – prompted his complaints. Who ever knows why some people feel the need to stir the pot. Regardless, my sister was worried there might be a dark cloud over Thanksgiving. I told her I was sure our brother just needed to blow off some steam and she was the unlucky recipient. I said Thanksgiving would be fine, and even if it didn’t happen exactly as planned, we’d be okay.

Sigh! Why does this stuff have to happen within families? It’s tempting to let it sour my attitude about the holidays and family functions, but one nice thing about getting older is coming to the realization that no family is the picture perfect family. Everyone has their issues and no one is immune to conflict.

I just read a wonderful book called An Invisible Thread by Laura Schroff and Alex Tresniowski. It is the true story of an unusual friendship that is formed between a successful, single woman, Laura Schroff and an 11 year-old panhandler, Maurice. Maurice lives in a world of drugs, violence and poverty. One day while begging for change on the street, he asks Laura for some change. She passes him by at first, as if she hadn’t seen or heard him. But for reasons unknown, she comes back to him and offers to buy him lunch at McDonald’s. It was the beginning of a lasting connection that enriched and benefited both of their lives for years to come.

Understandably, the book describes many instances of what is wrong with this world, with people and among families. Near the end of the book, I read this passage:

We all want relationships that are healthy and resolved, and sometimes that simply doesn’t happen. But the beauty of life is that inside these disappointments are hidden the most miraculous of blessings. What we lose and what might have been pales against what we have.

Those words struck a chord with me. Over all the years of my life, how often have I wished for something better or easier or more carefree within my relationships? How many years have been spent expecting things to miraculously change, only to find disappointment time after time? It rarely occurred to me to consciously be grateful for what is. And yet, somewhere, underneath it all, I can see that I am thankful for what is, even if I didn’t know it. Despite the flaws within my family, I wouldn’t wish for any other family. Given the chance, I would never go back and change the people who were predestined to be my parents, my siblings, my aunts, uncles and cousins. In spite of all of our quirks, I know, this is right where I belong.

This morning as I began preparing stuffing and thinking about when the “back-up” turkey needs to go in the oven, I realized something. I don’t love the occasional fighting and bickering that happens. But I do love my family’s silly nature. I love the way we reminisce about the past and find things to laugh about together. So maybe I don’t love the fact that my brother once wore a favorite radio station t-shirt on Christmas that stated across the back, I have to poop. That may have been a little much! But I love the goofy banter that takes place at family gatherings. I love the chaos and the noise and everything that makes us unique. And I am thankful that in spite of all of our imperfection, we have abundance.

Dear family, I love you … even though you can’t all possibly hope to be as perfect as me! ;-)

Happy Thanksgiving!

19 thoughts on “Thanksgiving

  1. Hope you have a great day.
    We have a family member who seems to plan disruption of celebrations like this – at least you don’t have one of those! :-)
    Today is just another day over here :-(, so think of us as enjoy yourselves!


  2. Yes, be thankful for what we have.

    And congratulations on the stainless steel mixing bowls! Now on to making mayonnaise and hollondaise sauces from scratch :)


  3. My wife gets stuff from Pampered Chef, even though I do almost all the cooking. The have some very good chef and santoku knives; I have a couple of them and use them quite a bit.

    Hope you and your family have a great Thanksgiving Day.


  4. Just yesterday I read a review of that book and made a mental note to pick it up; you made me want it even more.

    What’s that saying? “Every family tree has a few nuts; who the nuts are depends on the day.”

    Have fun today … :) MJ


  5. Wonderful insights on Thanksgiving! (or any other day for that matter)

    I like some family drama, it shows our humaness. If there wasn’t any, I believe it would be because everyone is faking. Yeah, maybe the poop shirt is a bit much, but your family always seems so down-to-earth to me. Happy Thanksgiving!


  6. Your closing line says it all and quite succinctly too! I’m assuming the rest of Thanksgiving Day went well for you and yours. Mandy, the kids and I dined on Lasagne yesterday -made by her boyfriend, Ken, who apparently had a little snit over something or other and didn’t even come join us for dinner. Tomorrow (Saturday) will be our “Thanksgiving Day” feast as we had to plan it for a weekend when the older daughter didn’t have to work and since she is off tonight and Saturday night, it will be tomorrow and I’m sure we will have the prerequisite number of dysfunctional family moments throughout our gathering but that’s what makes us who we are and how we come together as a family. Peace!


  7. Happy Thanksgiving ( a few days late). You are right that, with family and friends, we all have a lot to be thankful for. And some people (especially family members) just tend to maintain a gloomy outlook that drags down the occasion. You have to take those nuts with the rest of the fruitcake. That’s why they made wine (or beer). Life has a way of making things interesting.

    And I love your closing line – not everyone can be perfect as Terri (but it give us something to strive for). BTW – we had a back up ham this year.


  8. It really bothers me when people/relatives/soon to be ex-friends, feel like they need to bring some element of drama to a relationship and try to shift focus to themselves as much as possible. I don’t stand for it with friends; with relatives though, you have less wiggle room.


  9. Hope you all had a happy Thanksgiving! I’m with you – I hate conflict. Even though things happen from time-to-time, if life were perfect, it would be pretty boring, and no one would have any good stories to tell. :)


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