The mom contemplates her next move. The family room is a wreck and the dirty laundry is spilling over. Tasks outside of her routine beckon as well. Probably she should start baking or addressing cards or shopping. Instead, she pulls out her new Anne Trenning CD and lets the music wash over her like a balm.
You want the truth about gearing up for the holidays? I think you can handle it.
Thanksgiving has become my favorite holiday, and not just because my sister-in-law and brother host.
Actually, if I am being completely honest, that has a good bit to do with it. But please don’t freak out, family who are invited to my house for Christmas – it’s not you, it’s me. I feel like the holiday season is like running a marathon, and I tend to be better equipped for the booty loops of life. Perhaps there are parts of my wonderful Thanksgiving experience that could be applied to the whirlwind that comes after – or maybe Thanksgiving gobbles up all the best of the holidays leaving nothing left over except some burnt marshmallows and lonely cranberry sauce. Let’s see . . .
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‘Tis the Season
Thanksgiving is during the Fall and the fall season rocks. We suffer so mightily during our swampy, sticky summers, those epic beasts that refuse to die. Even when it becomes completely ridiculous and wildly inconvenient, like during Halloween when countless little kids melt inside of animal costumes and swelter (ironically) underneath Frozen masks, our oppressive temps often rage on. Usually by the end of November, though, we can count on crisp mornings and evenings and colorful foliage and cozy sweater weather. It’s a gift, ya’ll.
We Gather Together
Since I was a teenager I have enjoyed a Thanksgiving tradition that is a Charlotte gem: The Mecklenburg Ministries Interfaith Service. Featuring representatives and traditions from multiple faith communities, this well-attended gathering the Tuesday evening before Thanksgiving is always interesting, inspiring, and centering. Remember the Native Americans and the Pilgrims who started this whole deal? It’s easy to recall that coming together when you are at this event. Seems like this could be an especially useful exercise this year.
Take It on a Trot
You know you are going to be stuffing your face with all kinds of delicious food, more than is probably wise, so how to prepare? If you are thinking elastic waistbands and Prilosec, let me introduce you to something on the other end of the spectrum. The annual Turkey Trot in the Southpark area kicks off the holiday with festive 1 mile, 8K, and 5K events. Our family loves to run this race together, and by together I mean we line up at the same spot and then the boys and their dad sprint away and then hang out and catch up and cool down while I (finally) finish the course. Getting a few fun miles under my belt before putting turkey, stuffing and pie there allows me to enjoy my subsequent feast guilt-free.
Just Show Up
I must give a huge shout-out to my brother and sister-in-law who make this wonderful holiday possible. A lot goes into pulling off a big family gathering and they do it beautifully. As an added bonus their three darling children brighten any gathering and temper the teenage vibe we contribute (In fairness, my boys do their part by becoming human jungle gyms for their cousins when they play together). All we are expected to bring is ourselves, which is awfully nice. Of course we’ll come bearing wine and flowers and a pie or other small contribution; we’re not going to arrive completely empty-handed to this southern meal. #raisedright
People. So many of our people together. It’s a tremendous blessing. (Just don’t mention politics. Seriously, those who may be inclined to go there, I’m begging you. We want to enjoy turkey of the roasted variety, not be driven to the Wild kind. You know who you are. XOXO)
Dare I hope that I can transfer the goodness of my favorite family time to the rest of the holiday season? It should only get cooler by Christmas; Charlotte is full of meaningful concerts, gatherings, and services to get your heart in the right space in December; the good thing about running is that you can do it anywhere; and we will again enjoy the blessing of family when Christmas rolls around – and everyone comes to our house to celebrate. Which I am starting to get excited about, actually. The holidays may be intense, and hectic, and overwhelming, but the truth is, we can be thankful that like everything else in life ultimately they are exactly what you make of them.
Want to get a better handle on Thanksgiving? Check out the Mecklenburg Ministries Interfaith Service; get the run-around with the Charlotte Turkey Trot; and find serenity with Anne Trenning’s Prayer For The World.
Bess Kercher explores the reality of motherhood in her blog "A Few Good Moms...Can You Handle the Truth?" Bess lives in Charlotte with her husband and two sons. You can read more of her writing at www.maemucho.com.