This year I did not cook Thanksgiving dinner all by myself. I still spent all day cooking, but this year I only cooked pies (pumpkin, apple, coconut cream), stuffing (regular and cornbread), pomegranate sauce, and ice cream. As we were scrambling to finish up the stuffing and clean the house and set the table and wash the dishes Brandon turned to me, exasperated. "You know, no matter what we make or don't make, we always end up cooking all day long. This is a tradition that needs to end."
I like the idea of Thanksgiving that involves kicking back and watching some sort of entertainment, but that hasn't happened yet - at least when I'm involved in the food preparation. I'm holding out hope for Thanksgiving 2015 when the girls will be old enough to be sous chefs. If you can't do it all yourself, have some children and make them do some of the work for you, right?
We held Thanksgiving with some of our neighbors from church and so, of course, had lots and lots of food to eat. One of our friends has a great love of meat and cooked two turkeys, one smoked and one deep-fried. We tried to give him an easy assignment, just the turkey and potatoes, as he was cooking both turkeys, but when his family showed up for dinner they were pulling a wagon that was loaded with the turkeys, pink jello 'salad,' sweet potatoes (he had found canned yams in a grocery store somewhere in the city), mashed potatoes, gravy, deviled eggs, drinks, and if two turkeys wasn't going to be enough meat, ham. That's when I knew I had made the right choice about inviting them to Thanksgiving.
After everyone had eaten, the children had run upstairs to destroy the toy room, and we sat around and talked hoping for a little more room to show up, it looked like the dishes had barely been touched. One family had to leave early for a school play (since the school their children attend is British, Thanksgiving is just another day) so we dished out pie right after dinner and I was so full that I didn't even take a piece until much later.
Brandon had to work on Friday, but I made an executive decision that Thanksgiving will always be a four-day weekend in our house (since I'm in charge of school I get to do those sorts of things). In the spirit of our holiday weekend, we put the children to bed, cleaned up the dishes, and put on a holiday movie to finish up our Thanksgiving this year. Brandon could go in late the next day.
As we finished sweeping up the drifts of crumbs from the kitchen floor, Brandon and I talked about all of the things we have to be thankful for. Between good friends, a happy family, a strong and life-sustaining faith, a good job, a baby on the way, and lots of turkey in our bellies, we didn't have much to not be thankful for. Life is pretty good. Happy Thanksgiving!