Monday, November 24, 2008

Countdown to Thanksgiving

I'm writing this late, I know; blogging will be somewhat light this week. But that's okay--you've got better things to do this week, too, than read the ramblings of a sleep-deprived redhead whose new favorite friend comes in this little box.

I want to thank everybody who made easy side-dish and other helpful suggestions for how to host Thanksgiving while recovering from an annoying winter cold. I decided to make my menu fairly simple, and had Kitten cook dinner tonight. She did an awesome job, making a chicken-spinach-rice casserole that involved a homemade white sauce, something she'd never made before, and all with only vocal direction from Mom. Okay, raspy; it would be a stretch just shy of a lie to say I've been "vocal" at all much since about last Thursday--but the point is that Kitten's casserole came out wonderfully well, so much so that my MIL enjoyed a second helping!

So my plan is to do a little bit of vegetable prep tomorrow, a little pre-cooking on Wednesday, and then the rest on Thursday. We are going slightly non-traditional, in that I'm just serving a spiral ham which only has to be heated, instead of a turkey which would have to be handled--a lot--by the person who has been a font of contagion since last week. Other than that, though, the side dishes are the usual fare, and if I take a few minor shortcuts on the way to the feast, I don't think anyone will really notice, or care, much at all.

So even though this is only Monday of Thanksgiving Week, I've got to admit that I'm thankful--yes, for this dratted cold. Why? Because without it I'd be running around like a chicken with...oh, let's avoid the insensitive poultry metaphors for the time being...anyway, I'd be stressed, and trying to out-Stewart Martha herself, all out of the kind of misplaced pride that thinks I've got something to prove about craftiness and housekeeping and cooking wizardry and perfection of hostessing (yes, Jim, that was a skilled use of the "Cooking While Wearing Pearls" maneuver, but I've got to take off points for that High Heel Wobble--clearly, she doesn't wear heels normally, and it shows in her lack of technique, and in the long black streaks on the vinyl flooring). It's time, with my 40th birthday waiting just beyond the turning of the calendar page, to realize that I don't have to prove anything to anybody but myself, and to realize further that I wouldn't trade one flawless Thanksgiving, or even a calendar full of perfectly-planned and celebrated holidays, liturgical events, family feasts, and the like, for the talents I do have and for which I am also extremely thankful.

I will always be blessed to know women who wave a magic wand and create a fairy-tale right in their own homes, where the atmosphere, the little touches, the glowing candle-light and the soft gleam of the good china and the inviting aromas from the kitchen tell you from the moment you enter that you are privileged to be a guest at one of their grand celebrations--but it's high time I stopped comparing myself to them, and trying to compete when nature and inclinations have conspired to make me a very different sort of woman. It would be easier to do that if I were indifferent to the beauty they create all around them, but I am not--and I wouldn't really want to be, because that beauty is, like all beauty, a reflection of God's presence in our world. But when I seek to create such grand echoes of loveliness around my own efforts, I'm as doomed to failure as the child who thinks he can beautify the wall by scribbling on it--he understands the principle, but is completely incapable of the execution.

So, in my Countdown to Thanksgiving list, I can now put an X in the box labeled "Adjust Attitude." Done. And that's something else I can be thankful for.


MommaLlama said...

Red... my dear, I'm right there with you as far as the cold goes. I am desperately trying to cough up a lung (or at least that's what it sounds like) and my voice is has the attention span of my boys (lacking to say the least).

I will join you in the attitude of joy and thanksgiving and hope that when all is said and done I'm still alive (that's really the best I can hope for right now :-).

Red Cardigan said...

Oh, MommaLlama, I can't imagine dealing with a cold on top of all the other things you've got going on right now (e.g., first gluten-free Thanksgiving). Seriously, I recommend the Cold-Eeze! :)

I was laughing at myself earlier today, realizing how much "holiday stress" comes from me, not from my guests or extended family. Ordinarily by today I'd be panicking over the menu, fretting over the presentation, and probably ransacking my closet and deciding that a last-minute shopping trip would somehow uncover a miracle outfit that erased 20 pounds from my figure.

This year, I'm shooting for "vertical" and "conscious." Priorities, priorities.....

LeeAnn said...

I'm right there with you! I suppose sometime tomorrow I should go out and shop for whatever ingredients I need to make my gluten-free side dish additions to my mother's Thanksgiving bounty. And I should try and make sure everyone has clean clothes and has bathed recently. My oldest is recovering from knee surgery this week and my husband is on call to a world that largely doesn't observe Thanksgiving, so he may get called Thursday.... I'm not sweating it though. Like you, I've finally realized I don't need to show up perfect for my family. Course when Christmas is being hosted at my house next month, I may be whistling a different tune, but for this holiday at least, I'm setting low expectations for myself.

Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy the ham...that's what we're doing for Xmas.