Friday, November 24, 2006

Thanksgiving


Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It always has been. Truly, there are many, many reasons to love this special Thursday, and I will try to list a few that stand out in my mind. First, I LOVE the comfort food that dominates the table - roast turkey smothered in gravy and cranberry sauce, honey-baked ham, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans and brussel sprouts prepared a variety of ways, sweet potatoes or yams, pecan and pumpkin pies, and so much more! My favorite way to celebrate is as a big potluck party, where each guest can focus on preparing their own special recipe. The end result is a fantastic smorgasbord of the most delicious dishes, prepared with the utmost care and pride. This also takes the pressure off the host as all participants contribute to the end result, and more time and energy can be spent on the reunion aspect of this get together. I also prefer when there is less formality and the kitchen is full of helpers adding the last minute touch to their platter and the wonderful smell of food wafts through the house. This is a perfect occasion to stop and enjoy the company of those you love, share nourishment, and toast all the wonderful things that life has to offer. It doesn't always have to be a time to recite the many things we are thankful about out loud, but there is a underlying deeper gratitude for the simple pleasures of life that cannot be ignored. Just by virtue of taking a 4-day weekend, three days after Thanksgiving to rest and reflect, I have found this holiday leaves me rejuvenated in a way that New Years Eve/Day and my many resolutions never has. There is simply no pressure with Thanksgiving. It is the lack of commercialism that makes this holiday enjoyable. There are no gifts to buy, and thus the financial and emotional stress that can come with Christmas is avoided.

Our Thanksgiving culture is rooted in the idea of pilgrims and Indians coming together to break bread, set aside their differences and share the bounty of our land. This image may be a rose-colored exaggeration, but that is O.K. with me. What is wrong with focusing only on the positive side of an American story (or myth)? I believe that we, as a culture, need to nurture and cultivate more time for warm and heartfelt traditions. I am one of those people who doesn't understand the hype about how hard it is to get along at the holidays, all that sad discussion about feuding family members and complete disfunction in the face of a group dinner. That is NOT to say that my family all get along so perfectly that we never annoy each other, but there has never been any pent-up anger that seems to only force it's way out at Thanksgiving. We all know each other and our foibles and have been coping with our differences for years. One holiday, focused around a big bird is not going to be any different than any other day of the year, in regards to arguments. I feel genuinely sorry for those who probably maintain some much needed distance from their family, only to have old resentments blow up in their face with the tension of finally being in close quarters. It's a shame that this pain has to come to the surface at a time that should be all about appreciation and thankfulness.


Yesterday, my husband and I spent our first Thanksgiving alone, with our baby. This was not intentional. I would have preferred seeing our much missed families, and getting together with a gaggle of friends, but for whatever reason, we were not organized enough for this to happen. By the time it really sunk in that we had no festive plans, we decided to accept our lone holiday as our first, and hopefully last celebration as a threesome. This did not mean that we would forego a traditional feast, but with only two adults, I was not going to slave over a turkey or an elaborate spread. I went to our local gourmet market and bought already prepared turkey breasts, gravy, cornmeal and sweet sausage stuffing, and a mini-pecan pie. Dan and I cooked several sides to accompany our meal (fresh cranberry sauce, green beans with toasted pine-nuts and lemon zest, buttery mashed potatoes and New Orleans baked sweet potatoes).

We had a fine, although quiet meal. Stella was not interested in anything we placed in front of her (still asking for Pirate's Booty), and dropped every shred of turkey on the floor. It may have not been the celebration of my dreams, but it was still Thanksgiving, and I was happy. Today is Friday, and I couldn't be more thankful for my life. I am married to a wonderful man, who has my utmost respect, and complete love. Together we have created a family, and get to share the unbelievable, indescribable joy that Stella has brought to our lives. I feel only harmony with my family, and want to genuinely wish the same joy and blessings upon all in the world. Happy (VERY happy), day-after Thanksgiving!

6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love this photo of Miss Stella.
Bises
Fab

5:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This year Thanksgiving day was different for me, too. Instead of having it with my family and the friends that usually show up with warm smiles and delicious dishes every year, I spent the evening with my boyfriend's family. The food was great and the family was welcoming (for the most part), but a part of me felt sad for not partipating in the annual talks with the usual suspects. I missed the familiarity and the diversity and the fact that we are all misfits, hence we are all part of that grand plan of unity.

6:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

your family is beautiful. How old is your daughter?

thanksgiving is my favorite holiday as well. there is something about being barefoot in the kitchen with my mom and friends that I find so refreshing.

8:47 PM  
Anonymous Mom said...

You wrote so many trueisms. ThanksGiving is my favorite holiday, too, for the same 3 "f"reasons: family, friends and food. It is a living holiday and for that reason it is subject to change. We hope your family can be with us or visa versa next year. Stella, will eat your turkey then?

10:24 PM  
Blogger mrsgreen said...

Tallgirl - My girl, Stella, is about 3 weeks shy of her one year birthday on December 18th. I can hardly believe it.

11:05 PM  
Anonymous Reino said...

Awww, I loved Thanksgiving this year. I stayed home with my children, sister, and nephew. First year for not commuting somewhere. I enjoyed the cooking and the calmness of it all. I appreciated my children. Really I have to be on my toes and tell them No and every corner at my dad's house. And Tyler's stimming always has to be explained and he gets stared at by his own family. grrr. So this year was almost perfect (daddy had to work).

2:44 PM  

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