Monday, November 23, 2009

Weirdo Cranberry Maker

Really I thought I was on track for this holiday week. Christmas shopping is 99% done and I am on budget. The road trip to Dallas for Thanksgiving is all planned out. I even packed out suitcases and prepared a list of what order to put stuff in the car. One thing I can never prepare for? Turning into a twelve year old around my family.

After being told what I should pack for my girls for the weekend, my mom asked me if I was still bringing cranberries. I said yes and preceded to talk about the recipes I was planning on making (one sweet and one savory). her response: "I am making the classic ones because everyone wants the normal stuff".

Thanksgiving has always been my husband and I's holiday. Not in any offical lovely dovey way, just kind of an unspoken thing. We met Thanksgiving weekend one year and never again spent it apart. At first we went to friends or drove to Mexico or ate out but for the past eight years or so I have cooked. I love cooking and plan my menu early on making something slightly different every year, usually gourmet versions of traditional Thanksgiving foods.

We've spent it alone a couple of times but usually his parents come to us and it works great. They always compliment me on my cooking and even better, do the dishes after. And then they and my husband take the girls out on Friday morning while I finish putting stuff away and do some Christmas shopping. I love it.

The only time my family has spent the holiday with us, my sister and I dissolved into a fight over whether a fancy Hyundai was just as good of a car as a Mercedes (see, 12). The end was my sister storming out of the house and then returning to tell me I wasn't a very good hostess. Can you feel the love?

Now my sister and her husband have laid claim to Thanksgiving. They host a huge feast in Dallas (my hometown) every year for extended family. They are both fabulous cooks and the tales I have heard of the food have my mouth watering. We've never been able to make it because of work or living eighteen hours away. So this year I am excited to finally go.

But part of me is sad. Thanksgiving has always been mine and now it's not. It was the holiday where we stayed home and had time together as our own family of two, then four. For once relatives come to us (I fully expect to travel for Christmas for the rest of our lives because both of our older sisters want to be home). My sister has already been given my mom's Christmas cookie cutters (because "she's the baker in the family") and I am destined to be the eternal visitor, relying on others' traditions.

So when my mom mentioned the cranberries, I did the only reasonable thing in that situation: whined "why am I even bothering then" and hung up the phone after a cursory goodbye (my mom may have been saying "I love you" as I hung up *guilt*). Instantly twelve again, the awkward kid who always says the wrong thing and feels left out.

Sigh. Is it too early to start the Thanksgiving drinking?


  1. That is precisely why we'll be getting on a plane Wed. night and eating a Turkey Sub from Subway on Thanksgiving. We're claiming this one as our own!

  2. Sounds like me when my sisters started to cook. I was the one who prepared gourmet meals and fancy treats...who were they to take that from me? Mostly it makes me crabby that with everyone cooking, now I have to help with dishes.