Saturday, November 29, 2008


In my family, Thanksgiving is something to survive.

I have a great family. One of the things I'm most thankful for in my life is my family (extended family included). I also have a large family. Both of my parents have 2 siblings each, which has given me 5-6 cousins on each side, most of my cousins are married, and now some of my cousins also have 1-2 kids each. And everyone has always lived in the Houston area, which means we can ALL get together for the holidays. For my entire life, Thanksgiving has always been with my mom's side of the family and Christmas has always been with my dad's side of the family. Thanksgiving with my mom's family has always been the same, exactly the same. Same house, same food, same plates, same silverware, same pies, same people, same routines. Everything. Exactly. The same. And everyone insists on it remaining exactly the same.

Example: Last year I convinced my family to use frozen green peas instead of the same canned green peas that we always use, every year. I think that frozen green peas taste much more like fresh green peas. Sounds like a pretty minor and beneficial change to the Thanksgiving menu, right? No, no, no. The first and pretty much only comment that my grandmother made about the meal was the we had used the WRONG kind of peas. God forbid! This year, we (somewhat sheepishly) made sure to use the correct brand of canned green peas.

Since my grandfather died and my grandmother moved to a nursing home, the only thing that has changed about my family's Thanksgiving is that it is now hosted at my parents' house. Joy. This year the extended family was somewhat dispersed. A week or so before Thanksgiving my mom thought it was just going to be my immediate family. Which was going to be so nice. So easy and simple and calm and fun. Then my aunt, uncle, and 2 cousins said they would be joining us. Which was fine. A few more people, not a big deal. Then, at the last minute, another aunt and uncle, and 2 cousins informed us they would be joining us as well. In the end, it was 15 people coming to my parents house for Thanksgiving. That meant my parents had to buy and prepare turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, cornbread dressing, sweet potatoes, purple (cranberry) salad, macaroni and cheese, green bean casserole, apple pie, pecan pie, pumpkin pie, cool whip, celery with pimento cheese, black olives, green olives, pickles, rolls, butter, wine, beer, coffee, and tea with lemon for 15 people.

Lucky for my parents, I love to cook, bake, and entertain. I was in my element, buzzing around the kitchen, trying to get everything hot and ready at once. But by the time the meal was ready I really didn't feel like eating it anymore. I was hot and tired and everything was just so hectic and chaotic. I ate, but I kind of felt like I didn't really taste anything.

Thanksgiving for me happened the day after Thanksgiving, when I was well rested and got to eat leftovers in the calm and quiet of a much less crowded house.

I'm mostly just joking. I definitely think my family could do things to make Thanksgiving less hectic, but I'm not in charge right now, and so I just go along with it. I love my family and I love having a big Thanksgiving. I love how the hectic, crazy things in life make me thankful for the calm, quiet moments, and then in the lonely moments I'm so thankful for the memories of crazy, hectic holidays with my family. :)

Life is fascinating and there is a lot to be thankful for, sometimes you just need a sense of humor to keep it all in perspective.

Less than 2 weeks until graduation!!! I can feel it!

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