I thought I had it easy this year.
Usually, we do two Thanksgivings in one day. Yes, that’s right. We attend one gargantuan feast, wait 30 minutes, then go attend the second gargantuan feast.
Bloated bellies are simply par for the course when you have family on both sides living 15 minutes apart.
Even though my belly always grumbles, and my spirit longs for a little less “hurry up and go go go”… Thanksgiving doesn’t feel complete for me without seeing everyone.
Even still, I felt myself relax so much more knowing we only had one meal to attend, and one dish to bring. One. Roasted brussels sprouts with bacon and Parmesan.
Simple. Easy. Doable.
Last night, Ryan and I watched Jurassic World … Ok, let’s be honest. HE watched Jurassic World. I snuggled him, and looked up occasionally from the tight ball I had contorted my body into from fear, doing everything I could on my phone to distract myself from the anxiety-producing, earth-pounding, Indominous Rex-mauling show I had somehow picked for a relaxing evening … All while trying to convince myself NOT to have nightmares that night.
At any rate,while we “relaxed,” I found myself reading the Momastery FB post on expectations for Thanksgiving. It was long and well-crafted, as always, but the gist was that we should set the bar low for our expectations. Like really low. Cause family is crazy and family over the holidays is even crazier.
And in my pride (naievity?), I read over the post with the confidence that MY family is not crazy, and therefore my expectations were fine, thank-you-very much.
But all that “perfect, easy Thanksgiving stuff” shattered along with the big glass frame that fell on Z’s toe while I was working on that one (one!!) simple dish.
His toe quickly swelled and was bleeding. My best efforts to console him could not suffice. I knew he was really hurting.
My nurse mother-in-law came over to check him out, only to confirm my suspicions that he should be seen.
And so my gut just sank even lower because not only was this whole situation my fault (for not re-baby proofing now that he’s taller), but by taking him to the ER, we will automatically have to refer ourselves to CPS. After our “close encounter” earlier this year, calling CPS was the last thing I wanted to do.
As I prepped to get Z ready, maybe 15 minutes after Z’s accident, Ryan comes in from his annual Turkey Bowl game, holding up a swollen finger. “I broke my finger,” he announced. Immediately followed by, “What’s wrong with him?” pointing to Z.
And then, right then did I realize I HAD set my expectations too high.
Because I wanted Z to wear his suit I had been saving for Thanksgiving. And the girls, their darling dresses to go with their freshly trimmed hair. And I wanted to wear my dusty rose dress with a cardigan and long tassle gold necklace. We would all take a picture together, as Z’s last Thanksgiving with us. I wanted to actually eat my brussels sprouts. Because, well, bacon. That’s why. And I wanted to be early to dinner, so the kids could nap while I enjoy my family without the constant supervision Z requires.
Instead, here’s how our day went:
“Today has been a very strange Thanksgiving … 2-hour ER visit for Z with x-rays (thankfully his toe is not broken), a broken finger for Ryan, I didn’t get to finish my dish for our dinner, Maddy lost a tooth, Leyla missed her nap, lunch came from Jack in the Box, I had to self-report to CPS, and only half of us actually got to wear the cute outfits I had picked out for pictures.”
See, really nothing went as planned. By the time we got to my parents, I was already past the point of stressed. My headache raged. My appetite was nil (in spite of the fact that I had only eaten half a sandwich that day), and my mood was sort of (ok, I’ll admit it), sour.
More than I wanted it to be. I really just wanted to relax, and enjoy my family’s company.
My mom had prepared an amazing meal, and everyone helped out with the kids. Z got a much-needed nap in. Once he woke, my brother watched him for a while so I could get a short nap in. And I finally started to feel more myself.
Even when expectations get tossed out the window, there is always something to be grateful for.
“Thankfully, we still got to dinner, even if it was late, I got to see my family, Z is running around again, the CPS worker was nice, we have a warm home to return to, and overall, we are safe and sound. And now the kids are asleep … And I can RELAX.”
And eventually, I got on FB and saw your cute outfits and put together buffets, and gorgeous tablescapes.
And I. Was. Jealous.
I mean, I was happy for you.Just kinda sad we didn’t get our picture-perfect moments.
Here’s what our Thanksgiving looked like:
2 hours at the ER. Thank goodness for Skittles and a TV remote that he thought was his own private phone.
Missing tooth! Thankfully, the tooth fairy actually remembered to put a $1 under the pillow last night, much to Maddy’s surprise. (She was asleep on the car on the at home. Thankfully, I saw the baggy with the tooth before going to bed myself.)
This little girl missed her nap because of our impromptu ER visit, but conked out into the evening. Sadly, she did not stay asleep and was a bit of a bear to get back down for the rest of the night. But, once she did go down, Ryan and I got to watch a movie with my parents and brother.
At least these two got to wear their cute dresses!!! And I did manage to cut all the kids’ hair after baths in the morning. Love Leyla’s cut. Maddy was supposed to get her hair pulled back, but you can see that didn’t happen. They did get to see Ryan’s family though, as my in-laws graciously watched the girls while Ryan and I headed to the hospital.
Turkey bowl. Gosh, he loves it. But always comes home exhausted and in some sort of broken shape. This time it was his finger. My dad, who is a PA, set it and wrapped it after dinner. That’s the thing about having a medical provider in your family … A family get-together is not complete without a medical procedure! My dad saved us $200 by keeping us out of the ER for Ryan. Too bad the ER doesn’t do Buy One, Get One Free!
And here I am. My outfit was not what I had planned. My makeup was only halfway done by the time we left for the ER, and stayed half-way done all day. At least my hair had been curled! And my family doesn’t really care what I look like. Do you know how nice it is to have people who love you without expecting any kind of performance at all? I hope so. It’s so nice.
High expectations and low results … Not what I had hoped for. But an excellent reminder that Thanksgiving isn’t about tabelscapes, picture-perfect outfits, and fancy feasts.
It’s simply about finding out what you are grateful for. And then just as simply, saying thank you to the one who gives, and the one who takes away.
It’s about finding out that life is often nothing like what you planned, but everything that you need.