Now with all three boys married, instead of heading to the local Golden Corral, and hoping that some of them might join us, and put pressure on them for the whole "alternate every other year thing", I wanted to be selfish and unselfish at the same time. It's hard on married couples, especially young ones to please both sets of parents. And yet, both parents want to have their kids home for holidays. But, I just didn't feel like I could add to this for my own kids. Or even add to the stress of the other parents, who are my friends!
Instead we have now deemed the Sunday prior as OUR family Thanksgiving dinner. Just the nuclear group. Me, the Splenda, each boy and spouse and their children. Of course we couldn't have Corb, Kar and Chloee this year, but knowing that they will be home next week is enough. The rest of us gathered anyway.
One of my biggest pet peeves about cooking Thanksgiving at home is it always seems like it's just another Sunday dinner. Nothing special about it except for a change in the menu. Instead of a typical roast, we do turkey. Seems like such a hassle for a few minutes around the table chatting just like we do every other Sunday. Whereas, if we hit the Golden Corral, that is different. We NEVER go there except on Thanksgiving. I was skeptical about changing things up and although I jumped on board, I didn't really think it would be anything special.
Splenda Daddy made sure to make it different.
We cooked the usual turkey, potatoes, gravy, yams, stuffing (Thanks Grandpa Jon), jello, corn, rolls and pumpkin dessert. But instead, I used matching dishes (laugh if you will, it's reality kids), fancy goblets, nice serving bowls (instead of just dishing straight out of the cooking pans), napkins and a full set of cutlery.
I know RIGHT?!?! Go me!
After loading plates, Splenda asked everyone to go around the table and talk about what they were thankful for. I realize that this is probably a very standard thing for most families to do, but for us, our usual dinner table banter is filled with jokes, snark, a mention of poop or two and good natured teasing. Getting serious and thankful isn't our usual MO.
Can I just tell you how in awe I was of my kids? Every last one of them, set aside their usual silly selves and got real. The level of genuine and authenticity in the room was overwhelming. Each of my sons expressed gratitude for their wives, their families, their faith, their parents, and for each other. My sons have a unique and special relationship between the three of them. I love it.
As I listened to my daughter-in-love's express their love and thankfulness for their husbands, the hard work and ability to provide for them and their families, for being a part OUR family, and for their health and happiness, my heart started pounding and the little salty discharge that leaks from my eyes occasionally, started to pool up.
It then was Splenda's turn. He tried to make me go first so he could go last, but we all know how that argument would end up. Him doing the right thing and going first.
I listened to my cute husband talk about how much he loved his God, his testimony, his children (all of them), his grand girls, and now I was afraid I wasn't even going to be able to choke out words. Seriously. I was pretty much done for.
And then. There they are. All looking at me and waiting for me to speak. How can I possibly follow all that? Everything I felt was already expressed and looking at them, was like looking into a mirror. Only I feel like the reflection back to me was much better than what I was putting out.
I choked out some feelings, leaked from my eyes and then in true mCat form, cracked a joke of some sort and made everyone start eating.
Food was good.
Conversation was better.
Spirit felt was best.
I think I really like this new tradition. Come Thursday? Splenda Daddy and I will go run a 5k, and then maybe come home and take a nap. Maybe a movie. Maybe clean the house. Maybe go visit some family without pressure of what time to be there, and what to bring for a meal. Maybe nothing.
At any rate, we will be stress free. Our kids will be stress free. It will truly be a Thankful day for just 'being'.