Spend­ing Thanks­giv­ing at home with the fam­ily

The Covington News - - SUNDAY LIVING -

Hol­i­days mean leisure time for ev­ery­one ex­cept Mom. I had no idea how much my own mother did to make the hol­i­days spe­cial un­til I was in charge of mak­ing them hap­pen. Now I know why she and my grand­mother were al­ways so tired dur­ing the hol­i­day sea­son.

We had a beau­ti­ful Thanks­giv­ing last week. For the first time in years, both my sis­ters’ and my par­ents’ sched­ules al­lowed us to spend the day to­gether. My grand­mother felt well enough to join us, too. We had such a good time.

Ev­ery­one con­trib­uted a bit here and there, but the bulk of the plan­ning, cook­ing and clean­ing fell on me. Last Wed­nes­day, I baked corn­bread and bis­cuits for my home- made dress­ing, pre­pared two kinds of cran­berry sauce, as­sem­bled a casse­role, cooked lunch for ev­ery­one, hard-boiled a dozen eggs, brewed a gal­lon of iced tea, and made a dessert to ac­com­pany the carry-out pizza we shared with our guests that night.

That was just the kitchen prep. In my spare time, I home schooled the kids. I helped Don­nie hang a few pic­tures and in­stall our new man­tel. Then I dec­o­rated it, the side­board and the ta­ble with fall can­dles and leaves, did two loads of dishes, one load of laun­dry, and cleaned the bath­rooms. I lived in the kitchen Thurs­day, or­ches­trat­ing the pro­duc­tion of each dish with the pre­ci­sion of a mil­i­tary gen­eral. Thanks­giv­ing din­ner was ready at 5 p.m., as I’d planned, and was flaw­less.

Af­ter a cou­ple of hours around the ta­ble, the men sank into the re­clin­ers to watch the Fal­cons lose to the Colts while the women cleared the dishes and put the left­overs away. Around mid­night, af­ter the men and the kids were in bed, my sis­ters watched TV while I fin­ished wash­ing the last of the dishes.

I was hop­ing that at some point that evening, some­one would vol­un­teer to do the dishes. But the of­fers never came and I’d have felt like the Grinch if I’d asked any­one to do them. I wanted to wake up to a clean kitchen, and the eas­i­est path to that goal was to tap the last of my en­ergy re­serves and just do it my­self.

As I crammed the roast­ing pan into the dish­washer, I felt an­noyed by the lack of help—es­pe­cially since I had worked my tail off to make it a fun, suc­cess­ful day.

I don’t mean to sound like a mar­tyr—though Mer­riam-Web­ster’s def­i­ni­tion of the word does ap­ply to moth­ers at the hol­i­days. I can’t be the only mom who has ever felt like, “a per­son who sac­ri­fices some­thing of great value and es­pe­cially life it­self for the sake of prin­ci­ple.”

The prin­ci­ple is do­ing all we can to make the hol­i­days a sto­ry­book ex­pe­ri­ence for our fam­i­lies, and our sac­ri­fice is ev­ery other area of life we give up to make it hap­pen.

It’s a gift and a priv­i­lege to have a fam­ily to take care of, and I wouldn’t trade mine for any­thing. I truly en­joy party plan­ning and all the cook­ing and dec­o­rat­ing that goes along with it. My fam­ily knows this, so I think they as­sume that I also en­joy all the ac­com­pa­ny­ing grunt work. I don’t.

Be­fore I had kids, I would sit idly by at the hol­i­days and let the moms work their magic. They made pre­par­ing a feast look easy, so I as­sumed it was. Clearly, I had no idea.

I was clue­less about so many things in those care­free, child-free days. I didn’t know how moth­er­hood trains a wo­man to just roll up her sleeves and ef­fi­ciently ac­com­plish what has to be done. How moth­er­hood re­de­fines the con­cept of tired so that “ex­hausted”, “drained” and ev­ery other weary word in the dic­tionary is in­suf­fi­cient to de­scribe it.

I couldn’t have known how a mother’s love en­ables her to ex­tend be­yond her nat­u­ral abil­i­ties to give her chil­dren what they need. How our ado­ra­tion of their smiles makes us will­ing—with joy, even—to mar­tyr our­selves just to wit­ness those wide grins on a spe­cial day.

Still, we Moms are only hu­man. We won’t turn you down if you of­fer to do the dishes.

Kari Apted

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.