Friday, November 23, 2012

Turkey Day x 2

or Time To Break Out The Elastic Waisted Pants

Norman Rockwell's Vision of Thanksgiving

We've just made it home from our first Thanksgiving as an engaged couple.  This meant that we had two mothers to keep happy this year.  It was a tall order and did a number on my gas tank, but I think we were successful.  Now if only I didn't feel like I'd been stuffed, rather than the turkey!

The parade and potato peeling just go together in my family.
Every family has holiday traditions, those certain things that just make it seem more like the holidays.  Our families are no different.  In my family, it's tradition for me to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade while helping my mom peel potatoes.  Then, she dices up the potatoes (so they are ready to boil and then mash) and I steal small slices of uncooked potato to eat from the pot.

 Later in the day, I help my mom make the green bean casserole and then I get out the potato masher and go to town on the spuds. We finish up just in time for my grandparents and all my aunts and uncles and cousins to roll in to supper, each bringing a different side dish they prepared.  In total, we usually have somewhere between fifteen and thirty people gathered around the table depending on whose coming in from out of town and whose going to their in-laws for dinner this year.  It may sound weird and overcrowded to some (like my honey, who couldn't understand the merits of eating an uncooked potato slice or enjoy the melee of elbow to elbow dining), but it's what we do.

My family's Thanksgiving Day reality
My honey's family traditions are a little less crowded and hands-on.  His family's traditions seem to be a lot more eating and football related.  His mom does all the cooking herself, no one else is allowed in the kitchen unless they are coming in looking for a drink or to talk to her while she's cooking.  My honey can't even articulate the rest of their turkey day traditions, though I did discover that his dad watches Chicago's Thanksgiving Day Parade, which is sponsored by McDonald's if my googling is correct.  Luckily for me, his dad is rather fond of me and switched over to the Macy's parade when I asked if it was on upon our arrival. 

But, let's step back a little bit in time because successful multi-family holidays don't just magically put themselves together.  For three weeks before Thanksgiving, my mother was asking me (read that as nagging me) to find out what time my honey's family ate their turkey day feast.  She doesn't share me easily with his family on holidays and she wanted to make sure that I was going to be available to help her get dinner ready.  Plus, she had graciously moved the time of her Easter dinner to accommodate his family's holiday schedule last spring and was hoping they would be the more flexible family for Thanksgiving. Ah, the joys of being the only daughter of a widowed mother!

I pestered my fiance to talk to his parents and find out what time they were eating on turkey day.  I don't want to think of it as nagging, as that is something my mother does and something I never want to do, but it was probably pretty close.  At any rate, he eventually called his mother and she was waffling about what time to have her dinner.  My family may have a lot more people to coordinate food with on thanksgiving, but his family has a lot more in-laws and exes to schedule dinner around.  Both his siblings have kids and are in various stages of divorce, so exes and in-laws must be consulted to determine when Nana and Papaw can have the kids for their holiday dinner.

It took a couple of days to work it out, but eventually it was revealed that his parents' dinner was going to have to be later in the day.  This kinda crushed my hope that we could eat at his parents earlier and still make it on-time to my mom's to spend the rest of the evening hanging with my family.  I'm woman enough to admit that I had a little "emotional bride" moment over things not going my way.  I was NOT a bridezilla, just pouty that my grand plan didn't work out.  Once our schedule was nailed down, my honey and I realized we were going to be ping pong balls for the day, travelling back and forth between his mother and my mother. 

Here's how it played out:
9 am: Parade and potato peeling in my mother's kitchen

11 am: Brunch at his mom's house so that everyone didn't starve waiting for the grandkids to be released from their other family commitments and dinner could be served.  We didn't have a starvation issue, but his mom wanted everyone to be there, so we went.

1 pm: Back to our house for a much needed nap, followed by making two green bean casseroles to take to mom's house.

3 pm: We arrived at mom's house in time to help her finish getting dinner ready before the rest of the family descended upon the house.

5 pm: Dinner is always slated to start at my mom's at 4pm, but I have certain relatives with on-time issues.  By five, we were finally sitting down to eat dinner.

7 pm: Back to his mom's house to catch the tail end of their Thanksgiving feast and dessert.

9 pm: Home at last and too stuffed to do anything more than breathe.

Here are some interesting highlights from both houses:

  • My brother's dog somehow managing to break a nail above the quick and walked all around my mother's kitchen before laying down at my mashed potato-making feet and bleeding all over my mother's kitchen rug.
Poor puppy: There is nothing sadder than a dog
wearing a sock over one bandaged paw.
  • My nephew, Squirt, announced that he had to sit next to his Nan Naine and booted one of my uncles from the table to get his way.  Plus, my soon to be niece, Jan, announced that she was sitting next to her Aunt Lainey and finagled the seating arrangement at his mother's brunch to make it happen.  I felt so popular yesterday!
  • My honey asked everybody what they wanted for Christmas repeatedly until he got answers other than a gift card. His mother wouldn't let him ask for a gift card, so he wouldn't allow his siblings or nieces and nephews to ask for one.

  • We didn't actually eat dinner at his mother's house because they started dinner earlier than planned and, despite leaving my mom's place earlier than she would probably have liked, we arrived as they were finishing dinner. But, my honey got some of his mom's blueberry cobbler, so it was all good. Cobbler for Thanksgiving?  So weird!
  • I got an extra holiday treat as I got to watch my Washington Redskins defeat the evil and hated Dallas Cowboys in Dallas from both houses. We switched families at half time so I wouldn't miss any of the game.
Crybaby Cowboys

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