You are wonderful and imperfect, and there’s no better time to stop chasing perfection than Thanksgiving.
Family gatherings can mean a lot of pressure for perfection and I want to remind you that wonderful, imperfect you is much more fun and lovable than anxious, crazed, perfect you. Most pressure we feel is self-imposed, though some is external. I want to free you and remind you that the best you isn’t perfect you. Sometimes the turkey is dry, or you didn’t manage to dust every surface in your house. And you are still awesome. Unless you’re not, which is OK too.
My family (and some of them may read this) is not perfect. They can be difficult, not me of course… We argue. Sometimes we are forced to sing songs we don’t like and not everyone thinks the same things are funny. But we spend two holidays a year together, which isn’t much. I prefer it when we get along. It helps when I keep my expectations realistic, and my sarcasm at bay.
I look forward to Thanksgiving. It’s my favorite holiday. The food is awesome. I always learn things (they are very smart people). Sometimes they learn things from me too. We love each other, and I look forward to seeing them, even when I am feeling bad about myself. Even at our worst we are still family, and part of being family is what is wonderful and imperfect. Even if things go wrong we’ll try again.
I am not hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year. I am traveling to my sister’s house in Connecticut. We will all pitch in with the cooking. Not everyone does things
the right my way, and I sometimes need to remind myself it doesn’t have to be perfect. I don’t have to be perfect and the dinner will be delicious no matter how the apples get chopped. A few years ago in an effort to be as helpful as possible I washed the roasting pan before my brother-in-law had a chance to deglaze it for the gravy. I felt horrible and I still feel guilty.
Thanksgiving more than most holidays is all about the food. Naturally we want the food to be good, we want to make sure there is enough, and that there’s something for everyone, including your vegan niece and gluten-free mother-in-law. You have dishes you eat year after year, and maybe no one can make pumpkin pie like your maternal grandmother who passed away a few years ago. Maybe even if it’s not as good as grandma’s doesn’t mean it’s not good, it’s different, but maybe good in its own way.
2016 has been a rough year including and especially the last few weeks. I’m lucky, my family all voted for the same candidate, so we won’t have to deal with that, but we’re all seeing the outcome from vastly different perspectives. I will probably need to remind myself a few times that my own imperfections are part of what makes me wonderful. And the same goes for my siblings, and you too. You probably have a busy week, and if you don’t get all the vacuuming done it won’t matter.
You don’t need me to tell you what you should be thankful for. Maybe your year is going better for you than mine is, I hope so. Either way if you can head into Thanksgiving, into the final stretch of 2016 letting go of perfection and embracing wonderful, imperfect you, this could be your best, most relaxed and fun Thanksgiving yet!