I’ve been on The Bead Diet for 49 days now and lost 36 pounds (you can read all about it on my blog, Mom’s Crayon, at http://momscrayon.wordpress.com). Naturally, with Thanksgiving coming up, I’m a little worried about staying the course. Because for this holiday, more than any other, food is the centerpiece of the experience.
I cherish Thanksgiving for being a wonderful, “pause to reflect” type of holiday. I’ve taught my children to privately give thanks every day and be grateful for what they have (a supremely tough lesson to teach in today’s “GIMME!” society). But this Pilgrim/Native American celebration is a time for public recognition of what we’re thankful for. We sit around the bulging dining room table and vocally acknowledge our gratitude. And therein lies the problem: the food on the damn table.
For the older folk in our family, Thanksgiving is just about the food, specifically the amount of food. As if they don’t eat any other day of the year! The menu is pretty well set in stone, so that’s not a problem, however the mass quantity of food expected is. Apparently in our family, Moses came down and wrote in stone that there MUST be enough food left over for at least one grandma to take home several meals’ worth for herself and her cat. Oh, and the food must be served so that no effort is expended by the attendee. God forbid that any motion, other than lifting the fork to one’s mouth, be made! When I took a different approach last year (may I mention that our immediate family is expected to host each and every holiday since we’re the only ones who have a house) and made Thanksgiving a buffet, eyebrows were raised to the roof and complaints were made to management (i.e. my husband).
Even my usually easy-going spouse is unnecessarily preoccupied by the food aspect of the holiday. When, years ago, we were looking for a new house, he meticulously checked the kitchen of every prospect to make sure the oven was large enough for decent-sized turkey.
Again, I have no problem with the fellowship aspect of Thanksgiving. And I’m positively giddy about the gratitude part. I acknowledge that this holiday, like most major ones, is muddled by expectations, temperaments, personal histories, etc. But glorifying the practice of consuming as much food as possible at one meal is unhealthy and positively stupid.
This year, with some extended family going elsewhere, it’s just the immediate family plus the nanas, so we’re going out for Thanksgiving. Let the seniors indulge themselves while someone else waits on them. If she paces herself, my mother-in-law will go home with leftovers for herself and her cat since we, who are footing the bill, will not be ordering a separate menu for the feline’s pleasure. Like I did at Halloween, I’ll be choosing not to participate in the gluttony as I revel in those I’m most thankful for, my husband and kids. And just maybe, my little ones will see that fellowship and gratitude is the essence of Thanksgiving. Not the shoveling of mass quantities of food into one’s unsuspecting body.
This is an original post for Jersey Moms Blog.