What is it about Thanksgiving that can be so stressful and fantastic at the same time. Culinary stars are born, family that you’ve not seen in ages coming together. The parade. The odd things kids say and do. It’s all so warm and loving and a great way to reminisce and ponder upon family.
And yet . . .
Well, I’ll be honest. I usually stress out during this time of year. I think it’s all of the guilt about food, the family I’ve not seen in years, the garish parade, children underfoot and bored. It’s all so taxing and reminds you of how tight some strings are.
Like everything, Thanksgiving comes with a pull and tug. So, for those of you spending time with family and looking for some tactful ways out of emotionally ugly conversations, here are some tips:
1. If the conversation, say “how’s your relationship/love life/marriage” occurs over the table, immediately compliment a nearby dish. This is very effective if the asker is also the cook. I don’t care if you don’t know a teaspoon from a tablespoon, ask how it’s made, what goes in it, where did the recipe come from.
2. Then there is the frequent bladder syndrome. Someone corners you about work or finances or anything that makes your eyes roll to the back of your head normally, then go to the “oh, sorry, be right back. I think I had too much tea/coffee/jack daniel’s.”
3. Extended conversation (this requires cell phones). A younger cousin is asking advice or wanting to know about what you are getting out of life, you reflect the questions back on them and while listening, send a friend an SOS text message so they can call you and you pretend it’s important, life threatening, cats are out, water pipe is broken, etc.
4. Now, to all of you that are single, this is the mother of all dodges. As soon as nosy-so-and-so asks when you are getting (I’m shuddering on the inside just typing it) married, look them dead in the eye and ask “are you honestly happy in your marriage? If you are, I’ll consider it one day.” And then walk away.If they are divorced or widowed, then just ask how they feel about Obama and Hillery working together. Maybe your tact will spread.
It’s my observation that the people that ask you these personal, gut wrenching questions on a celebratory holiday are deeply unhappy human beings. There is a petty dark spot in my soul that wants to shine the light of their misery upon them. Not this year though. This year I have enough to be thankful for that I know I’m out ahead by leaps and bounds. A president that most Americans wanted got elected. I have my family and friends for the long term and don’t have to squeeze every moment of my time here, because I’m here. Though I miss Luigi and Lexie and all the other elements of Florence, I’m lucky that I live now, in a time where the only boundaries are really time zones. I can hear their voice and occasionally I can fly and see them. Life is beautiful.
Wishing everyone a Thanksgiving of grace and joy.