Thanksgiving is my holiday. For the majority of my adult life, I have hosted the Thanksgiving feast. And I used to go crazy with it!
Thanksgiving In Minnesota
All of the turkey days that I cooked for in Minnesota began at least a full week and a half before the actual holiday. It started with the lists. Lists for groceries, cleaning the house, daily cooking and prepping. The groceries were bought on an epic shop at the Hy-Vee. Thankfully there’s a helpful smile in every aisle because I could get a little freaky if something I needed was out of stock. 🙂
Once the groceries were procured, I would find all of my tried and true, and new recipes and tape them up on the cupboards all over the kitchen. It was like hanging wallpaper, with a real decoupage vibe. All the lists would go up too. Every day was a lesson in discipline as I had tasks mapped out by the hour. It was a micromanager’s dream!
I was a lot younger then, and hadn’t had cancer yet, so my body would just roll along with seemingly endless energy. I mean, I would go to bed a little achy and sore, but the morning would come, and I was ready to go! With Christmas music on the hi-fi, and a little sipper of Brandy, I was in my own little Thanksgiving realm of bliss.
On the actual day of Thanksgiving, I would be up early, setting up the card table for our yearly puzzle-a-thon. The guests would come around noon for lots of delicious appetizers and cocktails. We’d relaxingly puzzle and snack, sip and chat. Sometime in the afternoon, I would wave my magic wand over my highly organized and prepared feast. Potatoes would boil, gravy would bubble, the turkey would be resting, the rolls would be browning.
And then the puzzle would be moved, the table set, and feasting would commence with the always faithful bottle of Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau of that year’s vintage. It was glorious!
Somehow, I accomplished all of this in a little slip of a kitchen with only four feet of counter space divided in half by a sink, and no dishwasher. Ahhh, the glory days.
After I was finally able to move back home to Washington, I began to chill out a lot. I have a largeish family so there were more people around my Thanksgiving table. But over the past 8 years, I have been honing a simplicity in the feast.
This was especially true the year I was going through chemotherapy. I still wanted to host the holiday because I knew I wouldn’t be well enough to go anywhere. Between me and the fellas, we roasted the turkey and made mashed potatoes and gravy. Everyone else brought everything else. It was a completely different Thanksgiving experience for me. I loved it.
This year, there will be thirteen of us around the table. Plus, the two begging doggies and 4 curious cats. Everyone is bringing something delicious that they are proud of. Including us. And the Thanksgiving preparations are more fun than ever with my co-conspirator and trusty partner, Greg. The biggest project for us was having to rearrange our living room to make space for thirteen people to sit around the same table. Even that was a fun and easy little adventure.
Marking The Moment
Thinking back over all the Thanksgiving meals that I’ve cooked is giving me a real opportunity to consider the progression of my journey. Like how our mothers and grandmothers used to measure our height in their door frames to keep track of our growth. We come together, with our families or communities, every year at the same time to mark a moment. Almost like a rest stop on a long trip.
At this particular rest stop, Thanksgiving 2022, I am seeing a woman who is finally learning to chill out. Someone who is able to share responsibilities and relax on the micromanagement of every detail. I am becoming a person who can laugh easier, rest well, and allow most things to be as they are. To trust that all is well.
Thank you for sharing this journey with me.
If you love holidays, or they cause you stress, if you are a micromanager or you are learning to laugh, let’s be friends~