Sunday, November 18, 2007

Thanksgiving: the angst

This is the time of year when I begin my annual nervous breakdown. Well, actually, last week was... which is part of the reason I haven't posted. That and a perforated eardrum, but that's a different story.

At Thanksgiving, families gather as one big happy group, give thanks for their blessings and eat lots of food. It helps if you family is one big happy group. It helps if they can be together without sneers, judgements and reminders of things we agreed to forget.

My family is really three families. My father and siblings, my husband's parents and siblings, and us and our children. This year, with the advent of the angel Gabriel, there is another family or two... my son and his family of three, and Katy's family.

Robert and Katy decided to invite all of these people to a Thanksgiving dinner at their house. I can understand their motivation. There is nothing that says "we are a family" more than inviting others to eat with you at your house. And it appears that Robert has inherited my all-or-nothing style of entertaining. Once a year, invite everyone you know to your house and feed them.

Unfortunately, the forces of Thanksgiving did not work in their favor. Their 1200 square foot house would strain with the 25 to 30 people who might show up. Although they wouldn't have to provide the food for everyone, it would be a small space filled with people who are related only because Bob and I love each other and because Katy and Robert love each other. Other than us, they are as diverse and divided as the US Senate. Our families range from my Dad who is a raging liberal atheist who has gotten more so in his old age to Bob's brother and sister-in-law who firmly believe in a literal Bible and other things I don't understand and don't want to. I'm not going to go into all of the stuff in between out of an out-of-character respect for privacy. Let's just say that if Pat Robertson, Hillary Clinton, Sylvia Plath, Yasir Arafat, Martha Stewart, Indira Ghandi, Mao tse Tung, Ayn Rand, and Ann Coulter sat down together, they would have more to say to each other than my family members. My family is all wonderful, but in really different ways. And while everyone would be civil and kind, no one would have fun.

So we will go to Bob's parents on Thursday and my brother's on Friday. I have promised Katy and Robert I will help with a non-Thanksgiving dinner for her sisters and their families and her cousin and her boyfriend.

And I am not complaining.
  • I am grateful that we have this much family in one town.
  • I am grateful that my parents and Bob's parents married each other and stayed married, and that Bob and I are still married after 22 years, so we don't have to add the stress and strain of step-families to our bizarre mix.
  • I am grateful that I am blessed with a group of people who love us all, even if they are bewildered by our behavior, beliefs, and interests. And vice versa.

Time to go to the store... three pumpkin cheesecakes coming up...

1 comment:

annie kelleher said...

wow. people put their individual beliefs over other people's feelings. how sad.