Three Things to Expect if You Host Thanksgiving

Do you find yourself hosting the Thanksgiving feast at your home this year?

*Warning – Do not read this post if you don’t have a sense of humor or understand the gift of sarcasm.

Not sure what to expect? Use this handy guide to help!

  1. Expect people to come to your home and complain about how full they are from the last three stops. Yep. True. You may have spent the week cleaning things you don’t normally clean like your oven (on the inside) and making sure all the closets look neat. You may have prepped, shopped and baked for the whole week while the guys are out hunting. And to top it off, you probably baked cinnamon rolls and made coffee for everyone that morning. You’re wearing nice clothes, you set the table and you have make-up on. What’s the thanks you get, a complaint? If you expect it, maybe you won’t be so shocked and slap someone. Just think, it only means more turkey for you, plus when that overstuffed relative tries to play speed scrabble with you, he won’t be able to think straight and you’ll win.
  2. The person who starts the political discussion will disappear and park himself in front of the football on TV while everyone else continues to discuss. True story. It’s okay. Politics will probably come up with family together. The important thing to remember is being in total agreement with each other on issues of politics, theology, child rearing and fill in the blank isn’t the qualifier of being part of the family. Just ask God. How many of His kiddos got along? Or take it one step further, he’s got a batch of the Hunter/Allen/Craven/Guire/ family members in heaven that didn’t agree one bit in the political, theological or fill in the blank arena.They sure liked to discuss the topics though. If your family likes to have discussions, just have some guidelines. No fist fighting (just kidding, not really). Our boundary is when people start yelling, Jerry shuts it down. It’s a pretty firm rule. *Just a note, if someone brings up abortion, adoption, human trafficking or anything to do with kids from hard places, I’ll be sure to blubber. It’s okay. It’s all part of the family experience.

You will have a fresh batch of memories at the end of the day

3. You will have a fresh batch of memories at the end of the day. Even the worst Thanksgiving moments become written in the family history. No one will ever forget when someone dropped the whole turkey, told the joke that no one got, listened to Grandpa say, “Did I ever tell you when…?” for the 500th time. Those normal, irritating. loud, innocuous moments are treasures. Store them up for the years you don’t get to see everyone. Save them to retell when Grandpa is no longer with you. Do the turkey crafts. Drink the coffee and talk about everything under the sun. Go for the walk after dinner. Throw the football around the yard. Fill your memory bank this Thanksgiving.

I know hosting at your home is hard work. I can say this from personal experience. I took over hosting over twenty years ago when my mom died. It’s hard work, but good work. I love having family here. If you are hosting today and you’re exhausted, leave the dishes for a moment. Take a few deep breaths. Smell the smells. Watch the animated conversations. Hear those kids running around the house dressed in their pilgrim and native American costumes, chasing each other with plastic forks? Drink it all in. Savor it. And if no one else says it, “Thanks for hosting this year! You did a great job!”

Camp Splinter Reunion (Three Word Wednesday)

Family reunion

Family Reunions are interesting gatherings. They kind of remind me of the book, Are You My Mother? Everybody has a story to tell.

We walk around the live long day asking, “Who are you?” “Who’s your mother?” “Are you my cousin?” until the conversations take a deeper turn and we dig into the roots of family.

3 sisters
Norton Girls: Tet, Mame, Catherine

Where did we come from? Who married whom? In, other words, we should wear t-shirts posing the age-old question, “Do I belong?” or “Do you accept me?”

Will you accept me at the family reunion if the union has been terminated? It’s a broken event, these reunions, all of us wondering, begging to belong in a family into which we were born, adopted or married in to. Everyone has a wound to be healed.

There are touchy subjects, those politics, those beliefs, those recent deaths, they can send us catapulting into anger, despair or both. We walk that rocky path to the swimming hole, all choked up by rhododendron, talking about work camps (at Splinter) after the second World War and Roosevelt. Deep and wide are our conversations, narrow and rutted is the path that takes us there.

It’s the path of family, bound by blood,made  proud by poetry, history and stories of three girls at a logging camp, books of the history of Richwood with fourteen children born and two lost early, one to the Cherry River we swim in every year at reunion.

How do we bind up those wounds of those who have lost between reunions? A year. Two gone. Both leave gaping holes, bitter sadness and warm memories at the same time.

Camp Splinter rock

We visit old haunts and swim to the rock in the middle of the Cherry River. It seems smaller this year. We sit round the campfire, remembering and rehearsing for future reunions. Our bodies, some older, our joints creaky, our minds full of memories, each playing different tunes, different melodies from so long ago. Some remember this way, some that.

Young ones run around, ignorant of the memories they are building. The olders, with a few decades of Camp Splinter reunions under their belts, ask questions, frantic to hang on as if we will fade with the memories. But, that’s a myth.

I have called you by name

We belong. We are loved. Our family may be messy, happy chaos with a side of grief, but we are loved. Chosen. God, the Father knew before we were born that these sisters would marry two Allen brothers and a Hunter. He knew who would be born, for He formed each one of us in our mother’s womb. He created us for family. One day there will be a bigger family reunion in heaven when all of sojourn to glory. There will be no more tears. No more death. No more cancer. No more waiting in hospital rooms. No more questioning whether we belong. We will be home at the forever reunion.

 

Linking up with Kristin Hill Taylor for Three Word Wednesday!

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