Thanksgiving thoughts

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It’s a day shared with dear family, close friends and good company. There’s turkey with all the fixings, and pumpkin pie of course! More importantly, It’s a day to say grace and give thanks. To remember the little things, the big blessings, the important people, life lessons and memorable experiences.

To others, it’s just another dreaded holiday to survive!

  • First of all, it’s can be a huge production. From cleaning, cooking, decorating and pretending you’re Martha Stewart to make an impression on your guests. Half of which, you may not be thrilled to have in your home.

Even if you aren’t the honorary host this year, it can still be stressful. Let me illustrate…

  • You might be worried if your dish is up to par with your mother-in-law’s “never good enough” expectations.
  • Maybe you’re cringing about the annoying interrogation session with cousin Amy. You discovered her obsession with your personal life is so she something to gossip during her “slow days” at work.
  • Perhaps it’s the unsolicited parenting advice from your aunt Josephine who has no real relationship with her own children.
  • Maybe it’s the criticism from your old man about how your life philosophy as a grown adult contradicts his beliefs, and how you were raised.
  • Mother dear could be on a mission to play the comparison game with you and your siblings. After all she doesn’t have a favorite, remember?
  • Your grandparents…God bless them, are upset and confused as to why there’s tension during what’s traditionally supposed to be a happy occasion.
  • There’s your teen nephew who’s always finding a way to get back at you for “tattle tailing” in 2007. He loudly announces this is your fifth serving of sweet potato pie.
  • Of course your family’s friend, Maria chimes in and nonchalantly asks you if you’ve gained a couple pounds.
  • Then there’s all the little ones including yours, running around high on life and on tons of sugar. You can thank your great aunt Eva for feeding them all her baked goods, because she’s too proud to see left overs.
  • To top it all off, there’s the obligatory family photos that can feel so forced and awkward. There’s half of you that really wants it for your child’s digital scrapbook, and the other half that doesn’t want to remember the three and a half hours of torture.
  • Your head and heart are pounding at this point. You’re about to snap on your uncle-in-law for asking you a million times over, “What’s wrong?” followed by, “You should smile more often, it’s a better look for you”.
  • Then from a distance, you see your husband getting into a major political dispute with your brother-in-law.
  • Your sister takes a horrible, unflattering picture, instantly posts it and tags you on facebook. She swears she loves the unwashed-messy-bun-makeup-free-look-of death style you’re sporting. You get angry even after she deletes it, because you’ve just had enough.

Perhaps the above scenario sounds mild, in comparison to your get-togethers. If that’s the case, then I give you tons of credit. Or maybe you actually look forward to Thanksgiving. Everything is pretty pleasant, aside from aunt Sophia’s green bean casserole. Consider yourself very fortunate you don’t need to carry the entire medicine cabinet with you. If extra strength advil and bepto bismol are your favorite meds of choice, I recommend not waiting the day of. Those things go like hot cakes! I’m kidding. I actually just made that up. All joking aside, I wonder if our negative experiences are partially affected by a contrast of perspectives and expectations.

Like this iconic painting which depicts an idealized Thanksgiving holiday. Norman Rockwell is the artist and dreamer behind this scene of pure bliss. It looks so posed and unnatural. At the same time, I am tempted to jump into this painting because it intrigues me. Even if I could teleport myself somehow, It wouldn’t feel like Thanksgiving because they aren’t my family afterall.

Perfection shouldn’t be the goal of your holiday celebration. It’s about the consideration of the people in your celebration. After all, without people there would only be things. A feast but no one to enjoy it with. You’d be talking to yourself, rather than having a conversation. A beautiful table, but no one to sit next to. We can either pretend and expect everything to be perfect or we can acknowledge we aren’t perfect and make amends.

When we do that and take accountability for our actions, I bet everyone would be happier (and not because of the spiked apple cider, either). If only Amy saw the hurt she caused her cousin and apologized, there wouldn’t be any awkwardness. It’s sad when unfortunate circumstances and distance creates a reality that falls short to great potential.

However your Thanksgiving looks or feels like. Whether all warm and fuzzy or something straight out a soap opera, I urge you to find something to be grateful for. Imagine we woke up tomorrow without the things we weren’t thankful for? Then we would all realize that we should appreciate the little things, even if that’s all we have.

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Wishing a Happy Thanksgiving to my family and friends from near and far.

With Love from our home to yours,
R

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