For the first time since my divorce, I have my daughter for ALL of Thanksgiving Day.
Because in the past, I typically only had her until noon, I successfully avoided ever having to actually prepare a Thanksgiving turkey. We generally either celebrated with friends, which required me to simply contribute a side dish or a dessert and a yummy bottle of red wine, or stayed home and I made a lasagna.
While I love cooking and creating new and fantastic recipes, I have always been intimidated by the Thanksgiving turkey.
In my childhood, when we shared holiday meals, my grandma always seemed so stressed out on Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving was the worst holiday of all in my childhood memory box.
It was like watching a hockey game on the edge of your seat just waiting for whatever family feud was popular that year to raise its ugly head.
Let the sticks fly!
(One year, my mom chased my aunt (her sister) around the table with a butter knife.)
I think since childhood, I have always dreaded “Redmond turkey”.
This year, yesterday (aka “Wednesday” to the calendar-challenged) to be exact, at 11:15am…I decided that I was not going to make a lasagna, but that I was going to bite the bullet and cook my kiddos a badass Thanksgiving dinner!
First, I picked up my pumpkin pie from Russell’s Bakery.
Then, I had Lisa from my office walk me through the sheer simplicity of the turkey preparation.
(I have always had people say, “Turkey is so EASY! It’s a no-brainer!” Yada, yada, yada.)
I always wanted to slap those people.
My turkey comes with lifetime baggage of my grandmother acting as a martyr for her Thanksgiving sacrifices and my mother being cuckoo!
Also, there always seemed to be an abundance of lemon meringue pie…
WTH is THAT about???
(Yes, I am now reminded of that old Rice Krispy treat commercial where the mom behaves as if making Krispy treats is just short of saving the free world.)
I get it.
I love my grandma, but sweet baby Jesus. It took me like 5 minutes to throw the turkey together, and that included shaving off some extra fat.
I mean, she didn’t bake and the side dishes were simple, even compared to mine which are pretty simple.
The mashing of the potatoes also seemed to be a pretty big deal to her.
Lord knows someone else would somehow screw it up unless she inserted her “magic”.
You cook ‘em. You mash ‘em. Done. I can do that in my sleep.
So is it really the meal, or the burden of people’s disappointments and the baggage of their relationships that makes all this cooking seem like such a chore?
I know that I will have put in a total of 30 minutes prep time for a pretty yummy meal and also had time to clean my entire house (while on the phone with my aunt in NY), redecorate my dining room, and watch the Westminster Dog Show with my littlest.
I am about to get on my trainer and do my openers while the turkey continues to roast, and I am thankful that I do not feel the stress that my grandma and family felt back in the days when we all dined together.
(I do miss the pretty china and glassware though…)
OK, so with that, I can really sit down and articulate the things for which I am truly thankful…
- I am thankful that I have 2 beautiful, healthy children with whom I finally get to share a real family Thanksgiving holiday.
- I am thankful that I have 2 completely individual relationships with my children, as well as the combined family relationship.
- I am thankful that my son and I can sometimes look at each other and say nothing and understand a lot.
- I am thankful that both of my kids are really schmoopy and love to moosh on their mama.
- I am thankful that my dog does not shed or there is no way the house would have been done in 1.5 hours.
- I am grateful that my aunt can sense from over 20 hours away that I am getting all tight-throated and teary-eyed while watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. (Yes, Facebook likely helped her with this.)
- I am thankful that I have fantastic friends and a lot of love.
- I am thankful that I have fantastic friends who are either really cool or really drunk because they think I am fantastic…even after I had to fire my PR elves.
- I am thankful that I am employed when so many are not.
- I am thankful that I am able to share with others. (I used to be less than spectacular at this. Also, I used to eat paste, but that’s another story.)
- I am thankful that there has FINALLY been some athletic reward for the time I spend away from kids to train.
- I am thankful that my kids encourage my training and are independent enough to try their own things.
- I am thankful that The Sass has learned to ride so that I have more time with her.
- I am thankful that my mom sucked or else I may have taken my children for granted.
- I am thankful that I have an outlet (cycling) for my stress so that I am a happier person for my children and friends.
- I am thankful that I like bikes more than shoes and booze. (The former has been a lonnnnng love affair.)
- I am thankful that I have a great medical team so that I am still here to type this list.
- I am thankful that certain friends and racers pushed me this cyclocross season.
- I am thankful that I have had 2 very cool people coaching me this year and helping me figure my cycling shit out.
- I am thankful that Boogie still loves me enough to fix my garbage disposal on Thanksgiving day when I do something stupid with sweet potato peels.
- I am thankful that the turkey turned out and no one ended up at Urgent Care. (Otherwise I really could not pull off that earlier snark toward other people’s turkey stress, now could I?)
- I am thankful that I can close the season with all good racing news, a clear head, and a full heart.
I have a couple more race reports coming, as I just got back from Jingle Cross and then finished the weekend with the Bubba Finale.
After that, it will be different for a while…
I hope you are all thankful for something. I know I am a very fortunate individual. I do not take that or any moment for granted. I hope you won’t either.
Peace, mud, and barriers to all.