*9 a.m Thanksgiving morning has finally arrived and I wake up in the best mood. I head down stairs to see that my dad is preparing to help my mom, but often responds to her with “Wait, wait, let me wait for commercial!” as he watches football in between getting some of the chores done, my mom is hard at work in the kitchen, starting to mumble to herself the list of things she has left to go and my little brother, well, best guess, he’s still sleeping because what teenage boy gets up before 10 a.m on a holiday. *
Memories like those seem so long ago now, after all I was just a kid then. Thanksgiving has changed in the past years, being an adult and partaking in Thanksgiving day no longer means waking up, enjoying the people watching and all the cartoons I could ask for, crawling out of my pajamas, putting on my Thanksgiving outfit and stuffing my face until I can no longer move.
Thanksgiving has been my favorite holiday since I can remember. Most people grow up loving Christmas, and presents and don’t get me wrong those things are great and I really do love Christmas but for me, there has ALWAYS been something so magical about Thanksgiving Day and what it stands for.
However, it is also one of the most stressful days of the year and here’s why…
1. Planning who’s house will be host
I feel like I may have gotten lucky because there’s never been a brawl for the honor of being host in my family. Maybe it’s just my family but after a while, it got to be too much effort to figure out who could have the family over, and who wanted to make the room for everyone so my house started being the go to every year, which sounds great, and it is! But oh the chores and things to do! Well unless for some reason we’re traveling… which leads to my next point
My oh my, could you ask for a worse time to be in a smelly, sticky airport with hundreds of people you don’t know, who also have nothing on their mind except everything they have to do as soon as they get off the plane. It’s like you can see their thoughts, “Get off plane, grab baggage, get to grandma’s house, unpack, say hello, go to uncles house, eat dinner, come back to grandma’s….”etc etc etc.
3. Food, food, glorious food. What do we want?!
Of course the usual will be made, lovely turkey, oh the turkey. But what do we add?! Thanksgiving is like one of those days where absolutely EVERYTHING sounds glorious! But how to choose what to make, what there is time for, do people have allergies, is there an extra picky eater who’s going to be there? SO many questions all regarding food, which just leads to being more hungry! You might as well prepare to feed yourself and family for the next year on this one day.
4. Speaking of the turkey, how do you cook it?! There’s so many different ways to cook a turkey!
All I want on Thanksgiving is to have the best, most mouth watering turkey I’ve ever tasted but that leads to questions of how to go about it. At least in my house it normally leads to about an explosion or two. My dad likes to deep fry the turkey outside, which has on occasion lead to a giant turkey in our grass…..that is NOT how I was hoping my turkey would be cooked and served!
5. 9p.m, 10 p.m, 11 p.m, 12 a.m, 1 a.m ……Time to hit the hay!
As a kid I NEVER understood how late my mom would stay up to plan Thanksgiving. I would go to bed, wake up and it was like magic, everything would be going exactly how it should be, and if it wasn’t going perfect, I definitely couldn’t tell! Now that I’m older I see the lists, the late night thoughts, the planning that she’s doing until the wee hours of the morning.
6. Why else stay up until 1 a.m other than to clean!
Not only is there an abundance of things to plan for the next morning and whole day event, but there’s all this cleaning! And it’s not cleaning like you usually do, it’s the scrub the walls, and wash the baseboards kind of cleaning. The cleaning that you wonder “how did this even get dirty?!” Chances are, if there’s no planning going on at one in the morning, there’s definitely lots and lots of cleaning happening.
7. The beautiful smell of food in the morning
No ladies and gents that smell does not magically arrive in the morning because it’s Thanksgiving, although that would be quite amazing. That wonderful smell is there because mothers stay up until the wee hours of the morning cleaning, go and take a nap just to wake up and begin cooking at four and five in the morning! It’s like they never have a moment to breathe!
8. OH NO! We don’t have milk!
There’s always that one damn ingredient that’s missing! Every Thanksgiving in the middle of cooking about three hours before food should be done, there comes the moment when the smallest littlest thing is missing! The milk, eggs, a seasoning! Something is always missing and someone ALWAYS has to run to the grocery store in a frenzy to grab the missing ingredients to make sure that dinner will be on the table!
9. Why don’t we have enough plates for everyone?! And why are there only five wine glasses, I thought I had six!
All these family members are coming for food and it’s not until just before everyone arrives that you realize you’re three plates too short two wine glasses short and you didn’t even begin thinking about the little kids and what you’re going to serve their food on!
10. Cook, cook, cook, talk, cook, talk, talk, cook!
It takes one truly talented woman to be able to cook as much as it takes for Thanksgiving dinner but an even more talented woman to be able to cook all the glorious food while entertaining guests! How can anyone even begin to juggle that much, especially on the lack of sleep! Isn’t her brain fried yet?!
11. I promise I’m listening! I’m just running around the house like a mad woman at the same time!
All the finishing touches are starting to come together, table being set, finding all the serving platters, but how do you do that when now there’s all these people in your house who expect you to be a good host at the same time?!?
12. Oh um, just throw your jacket on the back of that chair with the other twenty-five jackets!
Where does everyone’s stuff go?! Jackets, hats, purses, kids toys, there’s so much stuff! A house isn’t made to fit thirty people and their belongings! It’s made to fit a family! So figuring out how to keep the house as orderly as possible and having a good place for everyone’s stuff can just be down right stressful!
13. Dinner will be ready at 4 p.m, I mean… let’s make that 6 p.m
After all this work, all the craziness, dinner still ends up running an hour or two late and all you do is stress that all these people got to the house at a specific time expecting to eat at a certain time and now they’re all going to be starving because they’re eating later than they expected. Even though you did absolutely everything you could, you still didn’t make your goal!
14. Table here, table there, tables everywhere!
All the tables around the house will most definitely go to seating on Thanksgiving. Adults here, children there, oh wait, what about all the people who aren’t quite children but aren’t adults yet, where do they go?! Time to pull out the fold up tables and make a little add on to the dining room table with it! Does everyone fit, barely, elbows touching and there’s absolutely no leaving the table once you’ve sat down but between all the extra tables and make shift places to sit, you find the space.
15. Food on food on food on food!
Now you’ve made all this food, people have brought food, you’ve found all the plates and cups possible, you’ve made every make shift table imaginable and what happens?! THE FOOD DOESN’T FIT! There’s no room anywhere for all of this food, so you resort to putting the turkey and a few other things on one table, the appetizers on another, and the desserts are just scattered at this point and the overall look is just NOT what you were going for at all.
16. Shoot! I forgot to grab the salad tongs!
You finally sit down, ready to enjoy all the food and your company. You think you’ve finally done it, you finally completed everything there was to do and you realize you forgot the obscure little utensil for the table. Something had to be forgotten, everyone is waiting to eat and now you have to find a way to stand back up, manage your way through the maze of tables back to the kitchen, grab what you forgot and fight your way back to the table so that everyone can finally start serving their food!
After all of that, you sit down at the table, everyone and everything you need is there, finally.
A whole day or more of stress, stress, stress and for what? Why lose sleep and run around like a crazy person? Is it to impress the people sitting around you at the table? Is it to make yourself feel good about all the things you can accomplish in one day? No. The answer is no. Thanksgiving is day full of stress and madness and may even lead to a few tears from time to time but at the end of the night when you finally sit down you realize why the day is called Thanksgiving. All you did all day was give and give and give, your time, your energy, you care and anything else you possibly had to give and now you get to to be thankful for all you have, with the people who matter the most. Thanksgiving is about being surrounded by the people who make you happy and make you thankful every day for the life you live, and that’s why you go through so much stressful, crazy extremes, because you’re so thankful and you want to be able to express it in every way possible.
The reward comes at the end of the night when you’re surrounded by amazing food, spectacular people and you realize there’s nowhere else in the world you’d rather be than right there at that table. The laughs, memories, conversations those will last a lifetime.
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