Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Giving thanks

Even after seven years' marriage, I'm still trying to get over what I call "holiday resentment." I'd rather be home, safe, cooking our own turkey. I don't want my children endangered by Interstate traffic.

Instead of a relaxing holiday, I'm constantly "on"--from contorting myself into a pretzel to nurse a desperate baby in the car to dealing with daily meltdowns from too much hype and horseplay.

Don't even get me started on the cost! I asked my husband not to tell me the price of our Thanksgiving buffet at a fancy restaurant. I probably won't have a chance to savor a single bite.

Forget about a holiday diet. I need to shed my inner martyr instead. I can twist those worries into a holier-than-thou attitude faster than whipping up a canned pumpkin pie.

But that's selfishness talking; that's me, not getting my way. God tells us that every day is one "which the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it" (Psalm 118:24).

Today, I will be glad for a safe car, enough money for gas, and family that wants to see us on holidays. I will rejoice in eight hours of leisurely conversation with the man I married. I will be grateful that leftovers won't tempt me later. I will give thanks that children four and under still eat free.


Anonymous said...

Wonderful picture! Your attitude at the end is exactly what our children's message and sermon were about on Sunday.

Have a safe and enjoyable trip!

mothersong said...

I love your picture, you guys look great.

I did all the traveling for visits, holidays and such for years. First with one child, then two, eventually with four, including three kids five and under. I drove 20 hours home so that my kids could be with my family.

Eventually it had to stop. The older ones were in school, they didn't deal well with the trip, it was so hard for me to pack up all the kids instead of adult grandparents making the trip without crying, fussing, fighting.

But when I quit traveling there, no visits happened. At first I was angry, later I became resigned. I had made much effort for many years when obviously no one really cared but me. My youngest son is 4 and a half, and has never met anyone in my family because I haven't gone those 1000 miles to introduce him. With three siblings in school, two sisters with jobs, and 4 half siblings that only visit on holidays, he can't be taken there. So he doesn't know them at all.

I'm not sure if this will make you feel better, or worse. But it is indeed something to be thankful for, that you have family that want to see you

Susan Godfrey said...

AWW! The picture turned out GREAT! I love how little sis is playing with brother's hair! Too cute!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your family picture! I always love seeing family photos :) I enjoyed reading your other thoughts, as well. :)

Anonymous said...

We don't even have children, and we no longer to Thanksgiving with family. Everybody has an open invitation to come to our place, but we won't go to anybody. Our family all lives in the same town, so until we stopped, we spent each Thanksgiving in a horrible rush, we ate two dinners, we did "family time" with two families, etc. My husband and I are both introverts, and it is just too stressful to do two Thanksgivings and then come and do it again for Christmas a month later.

We come for Christmas, but his family does everything on the 24th and always has, and mine on the 25ths. FAR less stresful than stuffing everything and everybody in one day.

I do see what you're saying! I won't eat out on a holiday because I used to work food service and hated not being able to be with my family on the holiday because of work. I don't know what I would do if my family wanted to eat out though.

Like the poster above, I don't know if this will help or not. I think you have the right attitude. :)

Kayla said...

That is such a sweet pic. I know I don't have to remind you, but I can't help exclaim how big Baby Girl is getting!

Anonymous said...

My in-laws are like mothersongs. They never came to visit us when we were 8 hours away. Now that we're cross-country, I don't expect them to do it either, although dh's mother is in her 70's.

I do wish I could be with my family this Thanksgiving. We haven't been here long enough to have close friends, so it will just be us.

I already miss my Dad and stepmom.

Green Tea & Kimchee said...

Meredith, I laughed out loud when I read your holier-than-thou inner martyr comment.

Is the house sitter the pilot? I hope so, wish him a Happy Thanksgiving for us as we are especially grateful to young men like him throughout the year, and think of them all often during the holidays when so many are not with their families.

Carrie J said...

Meredith, I have been married for almost 28 years and have spent about 25 years traveling between his family and mine at the holidays, that is until my own children started moving away and only coming in on the holidays. (My daughter just let me know she won't be here for Thanksgiving or Christmas this year. Sniff...SNIFF.) At first our families were upset that we were not making the 8 hour trip, and they still put intense pressure on us to come, they have started to lighten up.
I also resented always traveling on the holidays. But as my children have started moving away I have started to understand my MIL and my Mom's desire to have us home and have even developed a little guilt for my resentment. I have also learned some valuable parenting lessons. Do NOT guilt trip my children when they can't be here because it will only lead to resentment which leads to lack of desire to be here. A vicious circle.
I especially understand your worry about being on the road during the holidays. We try to schedule our time when there is the least traffic on the roads. We never leave the eve of a holiday if at all possible. I would rather rise before dawn and travel than face the rush the night before. We arrive at most holiday get togethers just a hour or two before the festivities.
Best wishes for a safe trip and a happy Thanksgiving.

Monica Wilkinson said...

I love the picture! Hope you have a safe trip. I appreciated the honesty and reality which you shared your thoughts today and the challenge to accept what God gives us with a thankful heart. Happy Thanksgiving!

Mom2fur said...

Oh, that picture is darling!
Frankly, I think you should tell everyone this is the last Thanksgiving you plan to travel. It isn't fair to you, and just because something is 'tradition' doesn't mean you have to keep doing it. Life changes! You would not be selfish at all to stay home next year--you would be doing what is right for your family, and that is what is important. (Did you ever think those feelings your having are God's way of telling you: 'time for a change'?) Still, in the long run, I hope you have a great holiday! Drive safe!

Anonymous said...

I'm lucky that my in-laws in Miami come visit us several times a year and don't expect us to travel from TN to FL for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Several in my extended do the alternating holidays thing. Attending Thanksgiving one year and Christmas the next alternating with the other families they have to see. My poor step-sister has 4 places to be for Christmas! Talk about stress! I hope you have a great holiday and relax and enjoy visiting the family. Great pic!

Emmy in Nashville

Anonymous said...

Wonderful photo! Have a safe and happy trip. It will all be OK. You are very lucky to have family that wants to see you and if your husband wants to eat out at a restaurant, then you smile and go. Don't even think about it. You have a responsibility to be his helpmeat and that often means that you do things that are not wrong, not sinful, just different from you would do if you were asked. That is a wonderful example to your children of a Godly wife. Relax, it's one meal, one day out of the year. My husband is a cop and for many years, he worked 2nd shift on Thanksgiving. Our way around the Thanksgiving meal was to have brunch. We would have turkey and stuffing and veggies and all with eggs, hashbrowns and muffins. It was a big meal but it was late in the day. Then DH would go off to work with lots of leftovers for the others who had to work and children and myself went off to enjoy dessert at our family and/or friends. Dessert is the best part and by 7 pm we were hungry again anyhow. Now that our children are grown and married, they still come over for the Thanksgiving brunch. It gives them tine to eat and visit and still make it to there in-laws for dinner at 6 or 7. After everyone leaves, I decorate for Christmas! It's easy to get caught up in the "I want what I want" mode. Remember, God wants you to be His child and your husbands helper. Have a fun safe trip and don't worry about the small stuff. That is HIS job.

Anonymous said...

Great post. Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

Susan Godfrey said...

He who thanks but with the lips
Thanks but in part;
The full, the true Thanksgiving
Comes from the heart.
~J.A. Shedd

Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

Hugs & Blessings,
Susan Godfrey

Someone Beautiful said...

Thank you for sharing such a happy photograph! Wow, you are ready. :)

I was thinking the same thing-that I want to stay home and relax with my family, but I too want to be with relatives who want us there, and my drive is not nearly 8 hrs; so you humble me. :) Thanks for sharing!

Traci said...

The family looks great and your son has gotten so tall! Please tell him Ms Traci says Hi!

This year was the first year we got to spend Thanksgiving Day as just a quiet family day....however, the next 2 days we will be back to Lewis Co. to visit with family...spending the night with Eric's parents....3 days of Thanksgiving dinners...I won't be able to move by Sunday!!!

Have a great weekend!

theups said...

Wonderful picture!!! Y'all look great and sooo very happy!!

I really have been enjoying reading your blog and figured it was about time that I tell you!!

Mrs. U

Candy said...

Nice family picture :)