I have always adored hosting friends and family for everything. Truly, it is my favorite thing. I've made a bit of a hobby out of collecting serving dishes, trays, platters, tea pots, cute dippers, special knives for cheese, as well as crystal glasses for every conceivable adult beverage.
That said, Thanksgiving has long been one of my two favorite days of the year (the other is our Christian version of Passover). I host the Thanksgiving dinner at my house annually -- or at least I have for the last ten years, or so, since we've lived in the House on the Hill. All the local family come, along with whatever random friends and acquaintances they bring. We've had people from Laos, people from Colombia, along with an interesting array of local yokels, and yesterday, a wonderful gentleman from China. The whole extended family has made a concerted effort to make sure everyone in our circles has a place to go. I try to make it fancy and festive, creating many family traditions, in hope of giving my kids some warm memories -- like using the same recipes and always having some child make a cranberry necklace for the turkey to be displayed in. After dinner, we hang out together while the tryptophan works its magic, and then play games. We often play into the wee hours.
All that said, we are not the family Norman Rockwell would have painted at Thanksgiving!
To me, the process of delousing and expunging has always been well worth it when the first guests arrive and ooh and ahh at my lovely, cat-hair-free tablecloths and settings. But, as I approach the half-century point, I'm realizing that what makes me happy just doesn't do a thing for all the men-folk around me. Cranking at one another is not how anyone wants or needs to spend the morning of Thanksgiving. That time should be preserved for Twilight Zone re-runs on Netflix, or the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on HGTV. Why, you ask, did this take me 21+ years of marriage and 18 years of parenting to learn? Well, I guess I should change my name to the Queen of Denial on the Hill.
So, with some mixed feelings, I have declared yesterday my last to host Thanksgiving. At least for a few years. The next year will bring many transitions for my family, as we shuffle some of the details of our lives in hopes of bringing more simplicity, more sustainability, and more peace.