Thanksgiving is in a few days. I know this because I already had that moment last week when I freaked out and realized Thanksgiving was next week instead of two weeks away. It seems to happen to me every year. That’s why I prefer holidays that have an actual date. I always know when Christmas and Halloween are, but Thanksgiving and Easter sneak up on me.
Now that panic has given way to preparation, I can focus on what the day is really about (no, not football). I have started to think about what I’m thankful for. Of course there’s the health and well-being of my family. There is also our home where my family can come together to celebrate.
I will definitely think about those things over the next few days, but not as much as one might expect. Not that I take our good fortune for granted. In fact, it's just the opposite. I’m so aware of those things, I don't wait until Thanksgiving to be thankful. I feel that way on New Year’s Day, Groundhog Day, and even Easter if I actually remember when it is.
As Thanksgiving approaches, I’ll be thinking about the dinner that needs to be on the table by 4:00 pm. For someone like me who isn’t a natural in the kitchen, preparing a Thanksgiving meal is a herculean task. So I'll be focused on all the food, especially the turkey that has a bag of something inside that I can't bring myself to touch. One year I forgot to take it out which has become one of those stories that seems to come up every year and give’s my family a laugh.
When I’m getting the turkey ready to go in the oven and throughout the Thanksgiving holiday, I will be thankful for my husband. He will be the one who pulls that bag out of the turkey so I don't have to touch it. He will chop onions or boil potatoes or snap green beans. He will make a cake everyone raves about. He will wash a lot of dishes.
As a feminist, sometimes I feel conflicted about being grateful for everything my husband does on Thanksgiving when countless wives throughout generations have prepared holiday meals (and every other meal) with very little fanfare. I wonder why so many women have such low expectations for their husbands, and celebrate them for doing small assigned tasks during the commercials of Thanksgiving football games.
However in the days following Thanksgiving, I will talk to multiple straight married women who will tell me how exhausting the holiday was because they spent all their time cooking and cleaning while their husbands spent most of the day watching football. My husband likes football too, but he understands that hosting Thanksgiving is our team sport. To put it in football terms, I might quarterback the dinner, but he’s the offensive line that I couldn’t move the ball forward without.
What I’m truly thankful for is that after many years of marriage, my husband and I have found a way to work as an effective team not just on Thanksgiving, but on most days.