Thanksgiving can teach you a lot about yourself. You discover your priorities, learn how you handle stress, and, most importantly, you realize how important it is to put some gratitude in your attitude.
This Thanksgiving, it was my turn to host.
(Okay, let’s be real. We don’t take turns. I just volunteered because I love entertaining and I wanted my family to come see my beUTAHful state.)
Joining us would be my parents from Philadelphia, and my brother, SIL, nieces, and their au pair, all traveling from Seattle.
A Thanksgiving to Remember
My hubby and I prepared for weeks – nay, months – to make sure everything was done right for the fam. We cooked, we cleaned, we purchased, we purged. I wanted it to be perfect.
I even made an agenda.
Yep, I’m that guy.
I wanted my parents to see everything there was to see — in the three days they had to see it.
Overall, mission accomplished.
We took them to eat at The Roof, showed them our favorite eateries (Cubby’s and Nielsen’s), and went to three of the four Explorer Pass museums at Thanksgiving Point (Next time, Farm Museum, next time!). We even braved the masses to go Black Friday shopping at City Creek, and saw the Temple Square lights afterwards.
We drank my mom’s signature drink, the Poinsettia, and chatted about life and how time has flown.
We had a gorgeous Thanksgiving dinner, complete with turkey, HoneyBaked Ham, gnocchi and peas (or “adult mac and cheese”), mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, homemade stuffing, cranberry sauce, and corn.
My dad and my husband had a blast strategizing the turkey to ensure it was perfectly seasoned and juicy, and we had a blast watching them.
After dinner, we sent my whole family to the local park while my husband and I reset the house for the dessert buffet.
For dessert, we offered pumpkin pie, pecan pie, apple pie, the most delicious Costco cheesecake, ice cream sundaes, assorted Trader Joe’s cookies, and a chocolate tarte. My neighbor Tauni came by with her boyfriend and brought a mouth-watering award-winning French silk pie from the Village Inn, too!
My four-year-old niece even insisted on making funfetti cupcakes for the occasion.
It was a glorious setting, and wonderful company.
But by the end of the week, I was stressing bad, my friends. I started snapping at my husband and felt completely overwhelmed preparing and resetting meal after meal, activity after activity. And I threw a birthday party in there, too, because why not, right?
At one point, I stood in the kitchen surveying the race car pennant flags that had to be hung, the cake that had to be decorated, the food that hadn’t come out right, and the presents that hadn’t been wrapped. I fell apart quite epically, and had to retreat to my bedroom to reset.
While I was up there, my family pulled together and set up the whole party on my behalf.
I suddenly realized that while I thought the whole week had been on my shoulders and my shoulders alone, I’d had the greatest support system right in front of me the whole time.
When I needed them most, they stepped up for me. And they made sure they let me know how much my hard work had meant to them.
That meant the world to me.
Put Some Gratitude in Your Attitude
For all the snags and missed agenda points, I will look back on this week with fondness. I’ll remember how blessed I am to have a family that will travel across the country to be with me. A family that will pour their hearts into tasks as small as basting a turkey. And a family that is there to comfort me when I feel like I’m not enough.
This Thanksgiving, I’m grateful to my husband, my son, and my family for reminding me what’s important — not whether we stick to life’s agenda, but whether we love each other even when we don’t.
What are you thankful for this year and every year? Is it something obvious, or do you discover it during the hard times?