I have so much to be thankful for, so I feel truly guilty that I am such a scrooge about Thanksgiving. I mean, here’s this holiday that has minimal commercial value and lavish gift-giving. All it tries to do is give us a moment to give thanks. I should love it!
And this year was truly an exceptional one. Our second grader’s friend organized a large parent/child football game at the park. Two hours of playing in gorgeous weather with a table spread with coffee and donuts reminded me of several things I am thankful for: my husband, my boys, our friends and any warm, sunny day during which I get to play like a child. Then Thanksgiving dinner at our house with more friends who made it really fun. Again, I was grateful. The food turned out fine. More friends in the door for dessert.
Really, I could ask for nothing greater than my day yesterday.
What I do not like is all the effort that goes into making Thanksgiving the feast it is supposed to be. And where does all that effort come from?
Women (yes, there are a few rare male birds out there who do the turkey’s share of the work, but mostly……it’s all us).
Maybe one of the guys stops into the kitchen on his way to grab a beer and juices up the bird. But other than that, they are in the “man cave” watching hours of football. Or reading. Or doing the crossword.
Now, every other day of the year, I am not a raging feminist. But on Thanksgiving, I rant.
And I have renamed the holiday Man’s Day, because in my experience, men really have everything they want on Thanksgiving. And it’s at the expense of women, whose feet and back ache by the time everyone sits down to eat. Men should not get Fathers’ Day too. It’s not fair.
I first hated Thanksgiving as a teenager, because it seemed to me that part of our family tradition was my mother crying as she rolled out the piecrust. Crazy. Ruining the dinner.
But now I know!
She was in the kitchen all day cooking alone for my sisters, my dad and his parents. We barely helped, if at all. Her mother-in-law got in the way. And my father disappeared into the study. No wonder she cried when the piecrust tore!
I get more help in the kitchen than she did, so I am not driven to the traditional tears. But I am on my feet all day cooking food I don’t really like. And then everyone stuffs their faces, and within half an hour, my culinary efforts have been devoured. Rather than say how delicious the food was, most people push back from the table, rub their bellies as if you’ve injured them, and groan that they ate too much.
And then that pie that you cried over? They are too full to eat it!
So, here I am one day later, dishes done, laundry caught up, kids as happy as can be. Maybe I should do my “I am Thankful for…” List to remind me how lucky I am. Here it goes:
I am thankful for…
Giggles and snuggles with my boys
A husband who keeps me on my toes and makes me laugh
Parents who gave me everything
Sisters who are my best friends
Friends who are like sisters
Cheering for the sun when it sets over Cape Cod bay
Light splashing through the trees on a late summer afternoon
Books with a soul
Then it’s back to the boys again….chatting softly together as they get ready for bed.