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Thursday, November 26, 2015

Family, Laughter and Thanksgiving

One of my best (and funniest) Thanksgiving memories happened after my parents moved to the South. Because we now lived at least a twelve hour drive away from extended family, it was difficult to visit them for just a few days over Thanksgiving break. We stayed home more, but we also included "adopted" family in our celebrations. This particular year we had invited good friends from church over to help us celebrate.

The Thanksgiving feast was proceeding as usual. The turkey was roasted to perfection, moist and juicy and flavorful. The table was filled with the usual mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, corn, green beans, sweet potato casserole, etc. One of my favorites was always a cranberry gelatin salad my mom made with fresh cranberries and oranges. Its tangy, sweet flavor was always a good alternative to all the more savory dishes on the table.

The cranberry salad was on the table closest to me, so I was the first one to dig into it. As I scooped in to the gelatin, I felt something hard I knew was not supposed to be there. I'm thinking, "What in the world is this?" as I continued to dig in the serving dish. By that time, everyone at the table was watching what I was doing. My mom got a funny expression on her face as it began to dawn on her what had happened and I pulled a serving spoon out of the gelatin! Apparently, the spoon she had used to stir and dissolve the gelatin had fallen in to the serving dish and in her haste she forgot to pull it out before it was set! Needless to say, we all had a good laugh over it (including my mom). To this day, we always ask if she remembered to include the spoon for that little extra bit of flavor!

Family celebrations do not always go as planned. Sometimes we get so caught up in our beliefs about how perfectly such events should go we get disappointed when they don't play out according to plan. Often we let the little arguments and problems that occur daily to overshadow what happens, bringing tension and confusion to what is supposed to be a joyful time.

There are times we don't even get along well enough with our biological families to want them around for the holidays. That's okay. Sometimes family are those people we are fortunate enough to meet and "adopt". Family is anyone who we love and loves us back!

Don't be too hard on yourself or the occasion. Allow for things to go wrong and not be perfect. Be willing to laugh at yourself or the ridiculousness of the situation and move on. After all, life is not about perfection. It's about learning and growing. It's about allowing yourself and others to mess up and make mistakes and still understand it is all okay.

The love of our (soul) family and a little bit of laughter goes a long way toward making holidays and celebrations memorable. Now pass the cranberry salad!!!

~CSE

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