I've hosted Thanksgiving dinner most years, since we've been married, for my husband's side of the family.
I normally begin drinking around 11am when the turkey goes in the oven. By the time 5pm rolls around we are both baked. (Relax mom, kidding)
I wouldn't need to do this if they would just act like the people in the commercials do at the holidays.
All I really want is for them to show up, laughing and holding warm pies when I open the door to greet them. I dream of everyone sitting around one big table, with matching chairs and silver serving dishes, eating and not being able to think of a single complaint to discuss. I'd love for my dog to curl up on the rug and wag his tail at our feet while we eat. Is it really too much to ask for my husband to gingerly slice the turkey with one of those long knifes and shiny fork looking things, into thin even slices while I gaze at him seemingly unbothered at all that he did nothing to prepare for the dinner yet is now getting the glory for the perfectly roasted turkey? The warm and fuzzy feeling melting all over me is what I fantasize about.
But guess what?
In the many years I've been hosting Thanksgiving dinner, I've noticed a trend: The way our family has always acted is likely exactly how they will act again this year.
There will likely be a couple people who aren't speaking to each other. There will be some arguing as they enter the front door. Kids will be hyper. Their parents will get angry when a family member tells their little snowflake to stop throwing rolls. My dog will bark excessively and jump all over everyone. He may even pee in the floor from the excitement. We will use a sharpie to write our names on white styrofoam cups. There are approximately 14 chairs in my house and will be roughly 40 people trying to snag one. Over dinner someone will certainly bring up their firm opinions on why being on, or being off the Trump Train is what Jesus would do. It's guaranteed that something will spill, someone will cry and someone will leave mad.
That's what REAL families look like.
I'm guessing there are some Thanksgiving commercial quality families out there somewhere, but I've never met them. I probably would have to drink even more if I were to spend the day with them. Not being real is exhausting after a while.
My Thanksgiving wish for you, for me, for all of us is to just embrace it. Love the people God gave you. Invite someone to your dinner who is lonely. Welcome the new boyfriend/girlfriend that your cousin will bring. Don't use this day to try and change people. Speak kindly to each other, even to the ones you don't really like. They feel just as uptight as you do, promise. Tell funny stories of the loved ones who have passed and are no longer with us. Let go of all the expectations and enjoy the best you can manage.
It will all be over soon.
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