Thanksgiving: why am I dreading what is supposed to be such a mild-mannered, inoffensive little holiday? Perhaps because the thought of trying to prepare dinner in my tiny house with two little attention-suckers at my knee is thoroughly depressing. It’s not like they’re going to ooh and ah over my dressing and gravy, either, so why am I bothering? I had been relieved of all this angst when a friend invited us to join her for the big day, but a couple of weeks ago she rescinded her invitation because one of her other friends who would be there “wasn’t up for a lot of people.” I can’t really blame my friend for capitulating to her other friend’s antisocial request, as this is the other friend’s first Thanksgiving alone since her husband died last year, but it does leave me back in the unwanted position in which I started. And, let's just be honest here, maybe a little irritated with the antisocial friend.
My plan has been to cook just a few things from my family’s traditional repertoire: a turkey breast, dressing, and asparagus casserole. Then R. said he wanted the sweet potato concoction with marshmallows on top (although he graciously allowed we could make one half with the brown sugar and pecan topping I prefer), so we’re having that too, plus (if R. makes it) a pie. So that should take the better part of Thursday, and then we will sit down around the table and have a family dinner that will be less than relaxing. And if you think I should just be thankful to have my little family around the table, let me just ask you – have you ever tried eating dinner with one kid who insists on:
(a) sitting on his knees just far enough from the table that all foods end up on the floor,
(b) feeding himself with his hands, no matter what the food
(c) feeding his brother bites of his own food, perfectly sized for lodging in a baby’s throat,
(e) getting out of his chair repeatedly to play with a toy or look in the fridge for an item of food or drink not on the menu,
(f) interrupting any attempt to conduct a conversation on a topic not of his choosing,
(g) sitting on my lap to more easily kick his brother or reach the light switch,
and another who:
(a) has to be fed or watched like a hawk while he feeds himself,
(b) rubs his eyes when his hands are covered with anything wet or grainy, which is to say constantly,
(c) shrieks gleefully to copy his brother,
(d) dances in his high chair by rocking side to side, forcing you to spend the entire dinner singing to him, and
(e) has been known to fall asleep while you are sticking a spoon of something in his mouth?
Okay, fine, of course I am thankful for all that. It’s pretty great. But I could get the whole experience with McDonald’s hamburgers and fries, and not have spent the entire day cooking.
I just had a revolutionary idea – even though I have bought the ingredients, I’m bagging it. I’ll roast the turkey breast, because it’s easy, and I will make the dressing the night before, but other than that butterbeans and canned cranberry sauce are going to have to round out the festivities. Does that make me sound like Scrooge? If so, you are welcome to join us for dinner as long as you agree to cook everything else. See you there!