Creating Our Own Stuffing

I was not looking forward to Thanksgiving. We had agreed months earlier at a family reunion to travel to my brother-in-law’s house for Thanksgiving this year. At the time, I had thought 2 of our 4 kids would be joining us and how nice it would be not to do all the cooking for a change. But life unfolded and circumstances meant that it would only be my husband and me going. Part of the dread was disappointment that I would not be with any of my kids for this holiday that centered around family. It was the first time for this. As our kids had grown up and moved away, our nest had gradually shrunk. Sometimes you don’t notice these changes because of the ongoing process of one kid moving out as another lands back home for a temporary stint. But on Thanksgiving, it came right up to meet me: no kids joining us.

Except there were two kids at the house we would be visiting: 2 boys, 8 and 3. Part of my dread was that they would be disappointed that none of our kids would be there to play with them; just boring old Aunt and Uncle.

I was also dreading the traffic. Who wants to drive anywhere on Thanksgiving day? It’s chaos out there. And we were driving into the Bay area…..Ugh!! I woke up that morning and wanted to pull the covers over my head and just will the day to be over without me participating.

My poor husband. I tried not to grouse too much but I wear my feelings on my sleeve so he knew he had a grouch on his hands.

The drive there was a parking lot, just as I had expected. However, it was a moving parking lot and we made decent time getting there. When we arrived, warm greetings all around (except the 3 year old who was napping on the couch). The older boy who is very sociable and bright gave us a tour of the house including his room which housed his class tarantula for the holiday weekend and his pet Beta fish.

Another concern I had was with my sister-in-law, who wanted the considerable challenge of cooking this meal because she never had. In our family get togethers, she hadn’t really
identified herself as a cook, we had never eaten her cooking and I thought she might be in over her head. When we arrived, she was very calm and most of the cooking was done. A beautiful table was set, she had hor’dourves set out and she asked us if we wanted something to drink.

The 3 year old woke up not to long after we arrived and as we expected, crawled into his
mama’s lap. He is a shy boy but adorable. We took the large golden retriever for a walk around the neighborhood with everyone but the cook before dinner. The 3 year old let me take his hand to cross the street and then allowed me to hold his hand the whole walk. This brought tears to my eyes. Because I had fed into my expectations that this day was going to suck, I was caught off guard when it unfolded and not only did it not suck, it held blessings beyond expectation.

The dinner was delicious, it was lovely to connect with my in-laws on a more intimate level, and we may have added to memories of 2 children who might think of Thanksgiving a little differently now. A win-win all around.

It’s definitely a human thing to view a situation from only our standpoint: how will it benefit
me? And yet if we allow our life to unfold in its own time and manner, treasures await