By Robin Garrison Leach
Ready or not, Thanksgiving is here. The house smells like onions and celery. Our guests are on their way and I’m trying to find the Thanksgiving Spirit among the pots and pans I have simmering on the stove.
I’m scraping bits of mashed potatoes off the mixer cord and sticking my face into a hot oven every fifteen minutes to check the little plastic idiot timer on
the turkey. When did the warmth and peace of the holiday season become a chaotic exercise in frenetic activity?
When my daughter was young, I really wanted to make Thanksgiving fun. In an attempt to emphasize the true meaning of the holiday I tried to project a loving, calm image of maternal sainthood. Dusting. Sweeping. Cooking. My feet barely touched the floor as I floated from task to task, like Mary Poppins on Prozac.
It was my duty to exude an aura of loving kindness on the day set aside for the gathering of family and friends. I spent hours choosing recipes and chopping vegetables.
Now that she’s a mom now, too, my Thanksgiving traditions lean toward more time-saving tactics.
I close off all unnecessary rooms like restricted areas in a museum. No one needs to know that the only time I make the bed is right before we climb in each night. My guests will have the kitchen, living room and bathroom. Table. TV. Toilet. The three comforts of home. Works for me.
I’ve mixed and mashed, sautéed and stuffed. Stirred and sampled, salted and saged. Every bowl we own is full of food; the microwave is heating rolls and reheating dishes that dare to be ready too soon.
It’s a shame to feel so stressed out on the one day set aside for grateful reflection and glad reunions. I know I should stop and remember all the things I have to be thankful for. Warmth and shelter. Food and clothing. The acceptance and security of a family that know when to surround me in support and when to give me breathing room. Friends who make me feel special.
But this year, when I stop to count my blessings, I’ll add a few less profound items to my list. Things that are especially soothing to a woman whose hands have reached into turkeys every November since 1974 or so.
1. I’m thankful I don’t have to share my glass of iced tea anymore with children whose little mouths have not mastered the skill of solid food retention.
2. It is a blessing to have lived long enough to regain the intelligence and wisdom I lost when my children were teenagers and knew more than I did.
3. Thank Heaven for my husband’s nearsightedness (it blurs the wrinkles on my face) and for his gradual loss of hearing that allows me to mumble frustrations without detection.