Do you remember Thanksgivings past where the hostess (maybe your mom, grandmother, aunt) made you feel as if she was thrilled to have you in her home, and she seemed to enjoy serving you the food she meticulously planned and painstakingly prepared? How about the hostess that seemed harried and hurried and caused you to wonder if she really wanted you there to begin with?
I don’t need to ask which hostess you have the most fond memories of. I already know the answer. The hostess that is grateful to have family and friends in her home and food and time to share is the most highly regarded and fondly remembered at holiday time.
I have a recent memory of a family member who literally turned around and said aloud, “Had I known the day would be like this, I’d never have agreed to do this.” And this was before we sat down to eat. Needless to say, we have never gone back there for a meal. Not that she has ever invited any family back – she has not. Oh, we see her once a year, and we exchange holiday cards and gifts, but something was lost with her lack of graciousness and her continued “poor me” view on life.
I have another family member, however, who alternates holiday cooking with me. She is a very busy mother of two girls, wife, optometrist, and church member who owns and operates three branches of her optometry practice. Her chronically ill husband recently lost his job and benefits, but she values cooking one of the holiday meals every year and enjoys having the extended family – from West Virginia to California – in her home. Oh, we have had to wait while she remembers the rolls that need baking or to make her famous homemade salsa. But, really…Big deal! We laugh, we remember Thanksgivings and Christmases past, we play board games, make messes doing crafts with the kids, and leave later than we had planned. She is grateful we are there and it shows.
I am the Thanksgiving Queen this year. I plan to savor the moments, savor the food preparation, and savor the presence of loved ones that I may not be fortunate enough to entertain next year. I plan to respect my body enough to eat slowly and thoughtfully and to take a walk with my loved ones after the meal. Even if it is cold, I can bundle up and take in the view with my family as my neighbors enjoy their time with loved ones.
And that evening, when I sit down with my teenagers and husband and ask them what they are most grateful for, I look forward to their answers. I pray that they remember gratitude makes a gracious hostess (or host) when they are in charge of their own households and holiday celebrations.
Until next time, I hope your Thanksgiving is blessed. May we all be grateful for what we have and what the future holds.