Thanksgiving is a holiday that I have a love/hate relationship with. It is only in the last few years that I have really gotten to where I can relax and not stress over the holiday and only in the last two years that I have really enjoyed it.
As some may know, I grew up in a very dysfunctional home. Holidays were not happy times as it was when most of the adults in my family would get drunk and would end up getting into fights. Growing up, the only Thanksgiving I ever remember being somewhat enjoyable was the time I took my paper plate of food out to the garage and shared a quiet dinner of dry turkey with my outdoor cat. Yup, that's how miserable my holiday memories are..
Fast forward to now. It has taken many many years to get over the dread and stress that typically accompanied holidays. It helps that I have a husband who absolutely loves holidays - any and all holidays. Sometimes, it's like I have 4 kids as he's just as excited about the holidays as the kids are.
It also helps that my husband makes the absolutely best turkey I have ever had in my life.. LOL Well, he can't take all the credit, as I mix up a really great concoction of butter and seasonings and inject half of the bird (it's too spicy for the kids) with my own Cajun awesomeness. ;) But the rest of it is all him and from start to finish the event of making that magnificent bird takes about three days.
And it also makes a huge difference that there isn't any fighting going on (outside of the occasional squabble between the kids) but instead we share the kitchen duties while listening to holiday jazz music. Over time, these small differences have made a huge difference in how I feel in regards to the holidays and while I still get a bit stressed just from the day itself, I find myself relaxing and smiling a lot more than I ever did when I was younger.
Yesterday was probably the best we've had in the 9 years we have been together.
For starters, I personally had so much to be thankful for this year.. This past year has seen many blessings to our family: our health, my husbands job, our friends and family and the Crew. But one thing I am most grateful for is we had not one but two long lost family members enter back into our lives. First was my Aunt Debbie whom I lived with in New Hampshire when I was 6. My father removed all contact I had with them when I moved from there to Texas. Second was my cousin, Robbie, whom was like a brother to me when we were younger. Both Robbie and I were victims of bad circumstances of our screwed up family life and I lost contact with him after he turned to drugs and ended up in prison. He has since gotten his life straightened out.
For the past week, the kids have been counting down to the day. All they could talk about was how Dad was going to make his wonderful turkey and how Mom was going to make them deviled eggs. We all got up early to watch the Macy's parade and enjoyed a nice breakfast and then the kids watched movies on netflix while Dad and I filled the house with the wonderful smells of Thanksgiving.
This year we changed our traditional dinner a bit and decided to honor our Native American heritage by adding a couple of simple Native dishes to our dinner -Hominy as a side dish and Navajo Fry Bread instead of rolls). This proved to be a wonderful addition as the kids are still talking about how great both were. They also enjoyed all the decorating with Flint corn and pumpkins. And WOW, did they eat.. I think both of the smaller kids ate more than anyone else. Where they put it all, I don't know but they engorged themselves on turkey, sausage, stuffing, deviled eggs, bread, hominy, and pie...
Ohh.. And my husband was absolutely thrilled as his Carolina Panthers beat the Dallas Cowboys and are still undefeated this season.. LOL
Typically, we end up decorating the tree after dinner but we were all so full and happy, none of us wanted to do much of anything.. Even the kids didn't mention bringing out the tree.. We will instead do that tonight as we will all be able to enjoy it together much more..
It feels good to know that my kids look forward to the holidays and have great memories of them, especially compared to how I felt in regards to them when I was their age. I hope it is always like that for them, that years from now they will talk about how they can't wait to go home for Dad's turkey. And I hope that I will look forward to those holidays too, counting the days down til Dad's turkey is in the oven and I wait for the doorbell to ring and the door open with the kids saying "Mom, we're here!"..
Here's to making new memories.. and to healing old ones.. and to many more blessings that I am sure the Lord will bestow on my family in the future.
Now to just make it through Christmas ;)