As you know, I’m not the type to go all mushy, so I won’t. In fact, this year I’m not going to list the things I’m thankful for, because most of them are totally superficial. I mean, sure, I’m thankful for my family and for freedom and safety and all that junk, that kind of goes without saying, but honestly, I’m most thankful for things like Dunkin Donuts pumpkin coffee and good lengthening mascara.
However, beyond long eyelashes and caffeinated gold, this year I’m most thankful that my friend, Mandy, is hosting Caroline and me for Thanksgiving dinner. I love to bake and I sort of like to cook but I find cooking Thanksgiving dinner to be really stressful. Most of the stress is self-inflicted because
I’m a moron I try too hard to make everything perfect. In case you haven’t noticed, I’m NOT perfect. In fact, I’m a little accident prone. It’s the dumbest thing, really. I plan a menu of the traditional foods; it’s never elaborate, but perhaps a bit ambitious when I’m only feeding three people; then I work myself up into a sweaty, stressed frenzy. By the time we eat, I’ve run through the gamut of emotions, including one (or more) massive meltdowns over the state of my turkey, leaving me feeling stressed and dejected, so much, in fact, that I can’t even enjoy the fruits of my labor. I create all these expectations of perfection, but the problem is no one but me cares. Martha Stewart may care, but she’s busy roasting her own turkey (probably a turkey she raised and slaughtered herself) to care about my turkey concerns. Craig spends the day watching football and whatever procedural drama is having a Thanksgiving Day marathon on USA or TNT and then emerges from his cave to tell me to stop worrying, eats, and returns to his cave. And then I’m left to wallow in my sub-par turkey woes, with mashed potatoes on the ceiling, sweet potatoes in my eye brows and dirty dishes piled high to heaven.
That doesn’t seem very magical at all, now does it?
Worst of all, since I’m never happy with the results, I face the next Thanksgiving with more resolve to finally get it right. Except I fail again. And then I hate myself and vow to make the next year better. It’s a vicious cycle. If only I hadn’t made that perfect turkey in 2002, which has forever set the barometer of turkey expectations extremely high. I keep fighting to replicate it and have fallen short every year after.
I don’t even like turkey that much. And now I don’t even eat it. But I’m sure I’ll try again next year. Because I never learn.
It’s all really tragic because I love Thanksgiving and each year I ruin it with my expectations of greatness. I love the idea of a perfect meal, but mostly I just love planning and shopping and prepping. Also, I adore the aroma of stuffing and sweet potatoes baking in the oven. Hopefully next year I’ll focus less on achieving perfection, instead choosing to accept that maybe I’m not wired to create a perfect turkey every year.
Oh, who am I kidding? Next year I’ll be my usual crazy, neurotic self.
But this year? Well this year I’m so happy that all I have to do is show up with a few dishes I’ve made (sweet potato and corn casseroles, veggie tray and apple cinnamon cheesecake) and not have to worry once about the turkey.
Ain’t life grand?
This year I’m thankful I won’t cry over turkey. But mostly, I’m thankful for a great friend, and fellow Army wife, who has the amazing gift of hospitality.
Oh, and I’m thankful for nutty, brown-sugary topped sweet potato casserole, too.
Happy Thanksgiving, all. May your day be filled with friends, laughter, family (if that’s good thing….I’ll let you decide) and pie.
Lots of pie.