Ah, Thanksgiving. What a glorious day to spend with family. I have seen many families thoroughly enjoy their day together. Cooking, watching football, even playing football during halftime. I have also seen Thanksgivings that would rival any dysfunctional TV family’s Thanksgiving. Here are my three personal favorites from the past. One year, I decided that a great way to learn how to enjoy wine was to drink three quarters of a bottle by myself. I’m not much of a drinker, and so naturally I passed out. Did I mention that I was hosting Thanksgiving? Right. I woke up in time for dessert with a raging headache. I can say that I did not learn how to like wine.
My family had been teasing my mom for a couple years about some ham that seemed to always be present in her freezer. We proposed that it kept getting pulled out for every holiday and then returned to the freezer. We all KNEW that this was not the case, but mom had had enough and told me how badly that hurt her feelings. YIKES. Yeah, I felt really bad, I was an adult after all.
But my all time (so far; I guess we have a few yet to come) favorite was when I was merely a witness, rather than a direct participant. Again I was hosting, and a newly married couple attended. The husband was in the back yard when the wife tried to sneak up on him. Being knee deep in leaves there was no sneaking across the back yard. When she arrived behind him and said, “Boo,” he laughed and said, “You sounded like a wildebeest.” Well that didn’t go over real big and we needed three less seats at the dinner table. I’m sure it wasn’t meant to be taken as a cruel statement, but it was.
What creates all this tension we often feel with holidays? I wonder if we have an ideal of how Thanksgiving should be and look and when situations that do not fit this ideal occur, we mistakenly assume that the day is ruined. Rather than being upset about these unplanned occurrences, use them as the basis for a great Thanksgiving story. Many of my funniest life stories stem from times when things were NOT going as planned.
As you gather with friends and loved ones today, try to relax and enjoy your time together. When you feel stressed, take a time out, or try to find humor in the situation. Most importantly, celebrate today, not the past or the future. Today is what is important. We can’t change the past, and much of the future is unpredictable.
I hope you all have a safe and peaceful Thanksgiving.