My husband and I have been trying to figure out what to do for Thanksgiving this year. We’re feeling exhausted from work, house and garden projects, my mom moving to town. Having a big Thanksgiving event just seems like another project, one we wouldn’t necessarily feel thankful for.
When I was pregnant, Mike and I talked about what holiday traditions we’d grown up with and what we wanted to create or continue for our son. Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. I love the time in the kitchen, eating and serving food that I may only make on that day of the year.
Growing up, we didn’t have many traditions in my family, but on Thanksgiving we made carrots glazed with butter, nutmeg and lemon juice, mashed yams with orange juice and brown sugar, peas, rolls, buttery mashed potatoes, hot cranberry punch, pumpkin flan, and cheesecake in a homemade graham cracker crust. It wasn’t a particularly healthy meal, but we spent time in the kitchen together. My sister set the table with silver and cloth napkins, tablecloths we saw no other day of the year. We broke bread together. We said grace. If our neighbors were there, we went around the table saying what we were thankful for. But I don’t feel like spending the whole day in the kitchen this year. There aren’t as many hands. Cavanaugh will only play in the sink or stir flour with a whisk for so long.
Recently, every weekend has been full. The time change has made the days feel shorter. Not having anything to do or anywhere to go on Thanksgiving sounds great.I want to clean our house the weekend before (and keep it relatively picked up – ha ha). I want to make a small grocery trip and do the prep for our Thanksgiving meal in the preceding days. On Thanksgiving Day all we’ll need to do is assemble and cook the dishes. With our immediate family of three, we won’t need to double and triple recipes. We’ll have less work and a lower grocery bill. If we prep ahead of time so we don’t have to spend the whole day in the kitchen, we can make leaf piles for Cavanaugh to jump on in the yard. We can lie in the hammock. We can play and rest.
I want us to take the time to feed our bodies and spirits with love and respect, to sit quietly, eat mindfully, and to remember what we’re grateful for: each other, time to just be, and that Texas summer has finally given way to crisp air, weather to be in.
Sonya Fehér is a writer and mama in Austin, Texas. She blogs at mamaTRUE: parenting as practice.