Yes, even after all my rants on the topic, today turned out to be one of the best Thanksgivings I can recall. We spent a lazy morning, made pumpkin waffles with a recipe* that my first-grader brought home from school, watched the parade, and surfed through the newspaper ads.
Can I just say how remarkably calm and peaceful this morning was? Okay, yes, I found that the dog had chewed the cover off of my daughter’s favorite book, and I didn’t get to watch much of the parade, and I managed to still do dishes and laundry, but overall it was calm.
It was so nice not to be worked up over cooking or who was bringing what or who was mad at whom or any of the other myriad family troubles we manufacture.
The biggest worry I had was being on time, and I was able to dictate the time. As I said before, stress-free.
We arrived and were greeted by someone ecstatic to see the girls, and they all went off to play. We brought in the pumpkin pie (store-bought), and the Velveeta shells & cheese (husband-made), and then had to lift not even finger one. We weren’t allowed to help in the kitchen, set the table, or carve the turkey. We were allowed to serve ourselves food and eat. Now that’s a reason for giving thanks.
The kids weren’t even badgered (too much) about not wanting to eat anything except a smidgen of shells & cheese and pumpkin pie.
And all the women present were on the same diet, so no one badgered me about only eating green beans and turkey with a taste of the giblet gravy (which *did* live up to its reputation as extremely worthy). If I’d tried that around just about anyone else I can think of, I would have been pressured to eat the mashed potatoes, macaroni, sweet potatoes with marshmallows, stuffing, gelatin with fruit cocktail, rolls, deviled eggs, and generous portions of dessert. Instead, I got to choose exactly what went on my plate and exactly how much dessert I chose to get. And, yes, I did enjoy a forkful of cherry cheesecake brownie and a sliver of lemon chess pie.
Granted, I’ll still be doing damage control drinking plenty of water and eating enough raw veggies to counteract the salt from the turkey and green beans, but it was nothing compared to the setback I’d be facing in a traditional family setting. Add to that all the stress, and that would have been truly unhealthy.
It was such a relief to have a day where I didn’t feel my blood pressure spike. Well, except perhaps when I listed off the number of family’s Thanksgivings I managed to ruin (I forget precisely how this came up in conversation, but I’m pretty sure it didn’t originate with me). I had it figured at 3 – my birth family, my brother’s family, and my husband’s family. The moment was saved by the grandpa up and saying, “Make that 4!” And we all busted out laughing.
After we ate, I discovered a new, addicting game on the computer which was a combination of all sorts of different puzzles. I played that until I felt as though I had melded with the roly-chair, and then introduced the kids to a new board game, Sequence. Now that was indeed fun. My youngest doesn’t really like to play many games, but the oldest and her friend had a good time and declared it to be one of the all-time best games.
Then we enjoyed watching evidence of human stupidity, which is always good for a laugh. We watched Swamp People, a show I never would have discovered on my own, but which had us give all the visceral reactions I can think of in the course of one show of watching these… people… catch and kill alligators. Our definite favorite was where the big ol’ guy who was huntin’ by hisself decides to up and wrassle in a line of angry gator by standing up on his boat and pullin’ on a string. It was like watching a train wreck. You knew, just knew, it was going to be bad, but you couldn’t help looking. An’ den dis ol’ Bubba done fall into the swamp water ‘long wit’ dis here big ol’ gator. An’ danged if he don’ come on up the bank an’ shoot the sucker with a pistol. Let me just say, it was an education.
Well, that was definitely entertaining.
Anyhow, we managed to have a great day, a day I hope my kids will remember fondly as one of the better Thanksgivings of their childhood.
*Pumpkin Waffles (Makes 8 large waffles)
- 2 cups flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ginger
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 beaten eggs
- 1 3/4 cups milk
- 3/4 cup pumpkin
- 1/2 cup oil
- 1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)
- In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt.
- In another bowl, mix the eggs, milk, pumpkin, and oil.
- Combine the wet and dry mixtures.
- Stir in the nuts and mix well.
- Cook the batter in a hot waffle iron. Serve hot with butter and maple syrup or honey.
(I’d up the spices just a little bit or throw in a pinch of cloves, but these were heavenly. Yeah, I ate some!)