Thanksgiving sucks. I have always hated it. When I was a child I would always ask my mom a week before thanksgiving, “aren’t the holidays when everybody kills themselves?” My mother would inevitably look down at me and remind me that it’s fun. My mother’s devotion to fun was unnerving, especially during the holidays.
So when I married someone who not only loved the holidays, but had a need to pass down the family recipes to our kids, I am sure a part of my mother’s heart was restored. The older my husband got the more he nested, but once we had kids, he became a mix of Ina Garten and Dan Conner during the holidays. In the weeks prior to Thanksgiving, he would pace around the house asking me questions that I would never be able to answer adequately.
Peter: “How do you want your turkey this year?”
Me: “You know I don’t like turkey babe.”
After several years and thousands of Thanksgiving questions, I resolved myself to the fact that my husband loved Thanksgiving and everything it stood for. Ok, I say to myself, having the family over won’t be so bad. I even resolve myself to the fact that Peter is going to invite pretty much every person he meets during the first two weeks of November to our house for the blessed event. When he died I felt a small amount of Thanksgiving relief (how many widows admit to feel relief of any sort). No more turkey, no more weird cranberry, can shaped, mold jiggling on the table. (To be fair Peter always made a cranberry sauce from scratch, the canned stuff was to please my mother.) No more awkward, stilted conversation with people I barley knew. YES! But when he died I discovered everyone was expecting me to take the Thanksgiving reins.
What the fuck!
I don’t cook and I never have. I am the person that has literally burned water. I soon discovered that none of these facts seemed to matter to anyone. It seemed that everyone was blind to the fact that not only was THE entertainer dead but also that I hate to cook. There was also the fact that some days I can barely get out of bed. Grief is a bitch. But so is expectation. I soon decide to make a declaration-I will never have another family Thanksgiving. And I am never prone to the dramatic or exaggeration. My kids and I are now on our second Thanksgiving without him. We are once again going to a restaurant. And even though we are no longer gorging ourselves on the homemade delicacies of our personal gourmet, we are thankful for that time. That is exactly what our Thanksgivings were, a special moment in time. As our thanksgiving is coming to a close, I am riddled with sadness but I am also so grateful that Peter had his fairy tale. Peter used to say he was living the dream and now that he is gone, I realize that he was, he was living his dream.