Turkey day is almost here! I love Thanksgiving. It didn't always used to be that way, however. I remember Thanksgiving being the worst holiday when I was a kid. Christmas was the best for obvious reasons: decorating the tree, twinkling lights, holiday baking, and, of course, beautifully wrapped presents. That I got to open! Halloween had costumes and candy. Easter had egg hunts and chocolate bunnies. Even Valentine’s Day had chocolates and candy hearts.
What did Thanksgiving have? Thanksgiving had a bunch of food I didn’t like and doing dishes with the women while the men watched football. Not a barrel of laughs if you asked prepubescent me.
As far as decorating went, all the other holidays were much more exciting and pretty to my young Thanksgiving-hating self. Color combos like red and green, black and orange, and pretty pastels defined other holidays. Thanksgiving was brown.
Poor Thanksgiving had a meal I didn’t like, had no presents or candy, and was the color of poop. It didn’t stand a chance. But now that I’m an adult, I appreciate Thanksgiving so much more. Here are a few ways my Thanksgiving-grinchy heart has changed with age:
Then: First there was the actual meal. As a kid I hated turkey, mashed potatoes, all the vegetables, and a pie made out of pumpkin?? There wasn’t enough Cool Whip in the world. Then there was the location of the meal. I had to sit at the kids’ table until I was 22 years old. The kids’ table was a wobbly card table where I sat with my brothers who cut their turkey like they were using a hacksaw, violently shaking the table and spilling my gravy all over my cranberries.
Now: My tastes have changed and I like mashed potatoes, stuffing, and especially green bean casserole. We are fortunate to be able to go to my parents and in-law’s houses for Thanksgiving, so at this point, any meal I don’t have to prepare is a good one. I still don’t care for pumpkin pie. I bring a chocolate one. Pie problem solved! We still have a wobbly card table for the kids, but I don’t have to sit at it now that I’m out of my 20s! I’d voluntarily sit there as long as I could take my wine glass with me. Maybe in a spill-proof cup in case the turkey sawing gets out of hand?
Then: The entertainment for me as a child on Thanksgiving was sorely lacking. The grownups talked and watched football. Having no cousins my age, I was forced to either play with my younger brothers or hang out with the grownups. I was a painfully shy kid and talking to adults was torture. I had as much interest in watching a football game on t.v. as I did watching paint dry. I think I actually would have preferred to watch drying paint.
Now: I like talking with adults. I still don’t like watching football on t.v. unless it is my alma mater- GO BIG RED!- but I will gladly watch football WHILE painting the walls if it means I get the day off work.
Then: As a kid I thought Thanksgiving was sorely missing an “event”; hunting for eggs, trick-or-treating, opening presents, etc. I apparently didn’t appreciate that spending time with family giving thanks is an event unto itself.
Now: I love spending the time with my family. I also love not having to fork out my hard earned dollars for gifts and Halloween costumes. I have grown to appreciate the importance of being able to spend time with and celebrate family. As we are all getting older, we may not have the same opportunities in coming years. You bet your bootie I am enjoying every second while I can. I also realize how blessed I am to have both my mom and my mother in law who make such wonderful meals for all of us. I have never made a turkey in my life, and would love to keep that streak going for another 39 years.
Here’s to hoping that you and yours enjoy and appreciate this Thanksgiving and time spent with family and friends. Hopefully your children enjoy the day as well and appreciate the opportunity to spend a lovely holiday with family enjoying a good meal. If I could talk to child-me knowing what I know now, I would say “Buck up you spoiled little thing! You don’t know how good you have it.” Thankfully, I’ve grown up, grown to appreciate what the holiday is about, and learned to be thankful.