Our Thanksgiving tradition every year is to share the stories of all the crazy things that happened to us on Thanksgivings past. It makes us laugh and realize how much we have to be thankful for, even if it is for the little things. I’ve compiled some of our most memorable to share with you today.
When I was a kid we never had the same Thanksgiving twice. The menu would change a little or sometimes we’d be in a new home. The faces gathered around our table were different every year. When my parents divorced my mom would open our home to her friends who did not have family to feast with. They were like aunts and uncles to us.
We were very poor but somehow at Thanksgiving we had abundance. Except the one year my mom had nothing and our uncle took us out for pizza the day after. I remember feeling grateful for the generosity and that we got to eat in a restaurant which was rare.
When we were older my family of six crammed into our small car to travel to another state to stay with family for Thanksgiving. They lived on the side of a mountain and it felt like an adventure just driving toward their house. Hunters we’re in their front yards firing off riffles for target practice. We may have gathered to eat turkey, but it was bear season on the mountain. An entirely different world compared to my “city” living. That wasn’t even the least perfect part of our holiday. At some point during the feast prep the water supply stopped running. My memory of why escapes me, but I’ll never forget my uncle having to walk to the creek to fill buckets of water to leave in the bathroom so we could flush the toilet. It was funny twenty six years ago and it is funny now.
When I hosted my first adult Thanksgiving and cooked for my in-laws the very first time nothing worked right. The timing was completely off and it took nearly 7 hours to cook our turkey. By the time we sat down to eat all the side dishes were cold. I was stressed because my attempts to impress my extended family failed miserably. It turned out the house we just moved into had an oven that cooked 200 degrees less than its setting. Thankfully, we had plenty of wine to ride out the wait time. My husband and I still laugh about that day.
Years later we bought our first home and we closed the week before Thanksgiving. We were running between our apartment and new house on Thanksgiving day so there was no way I was going to cook. My husband thought we could easily stop into any dinner or restaurant to get a turkey dinner. Turns out every business in our new hometown closed down. We had to settle for Swanson’s turkey TV dinner we picked up at a gas station. I’ll never forget the look on my husband’s face when I presented him with that tray of a tiny serving of turkey with no second helping in sight.
Then there was the year I went into labor the night before Thanksgiving. I was so excited to finally meet my two little turkeys, but it turned out to be false labor. After a sleepless night in the hospital we returned home and hubby had to make dinner on his own. That was the year I learned to let go of the perfect Thanksgiving. Nothing is more perfect than being served a meal I didn’t have to cook and the ability to laugh at the crazy things life brings.
I remember all the years my mom stressed to get a good meal on the table and I remember all the crazy things that happened to change our perfect plans. I don’t remember all the things that went perfectly right. Those imperfections make me so grateful to wake up with my kids now, in our warm home (with flushing toilets) and making breakfast together. Having a hot meal and plenty of food, our health and a comfy couch to watch our TV are all things we consider perfect ways to celebrate any holiday. We have limited years with our children at our table and having them to ourselves. I want to spend it laughing and enjoying whatever comes our way. I’ve learned to embrace the tradition of chaos for our holiday and really cherish the years it all goes according to plan.
May you all have a day filled with laughter and just enough imperfections to make the day memorable. Happy Thanksgiving!!
Feel free to share your favorite Thanksgiving memory in comments below! The less perfect the better!!
The Whatever Mom is a twin mom learning to let go of perfection. She shares her real life struggles with parenting through her blog and contributes her time and talents as a writer to Hudson Valley Parent and Masshole Mommy. When she isn’t writing you can find her chugging coffee, folding laundry and not judging other parents. Don’t forget to subscribe via email so you never miss a blog post again! You can also find her work featured on Mamapedia