Perfect thanksgiving blessings come in all shapes and sizes, especially in perfectly imperfect families. I must confess that I love to peruse magazines with Martha-Stewart- perfect table settings or homey Joanna Gaines recipes, served on long, farmhouse tables full of smiling well behaved children. In the magazines the guests arrive on time and the relatives get along. But alas, time to leisurely flip through magazines and plan for “perfect” holidays has only been a recent luxury of grandparenthood as an empty-nester.
If one of the gifts of getting older is a little leisure time with unrealistic magazines, the other gift is perspective. I find myself less often wishing for the “perfect” holiday, and realizing how thankful I am for the “perfectly imperfect” holidays. Sure, it would be great to have the stuffing, turkey and vegetables to come out of the oven at the same time, but who can accomplish that, while accommodating a nursing baby and toddlers’ shifting nap times?
I am thankful that my kids want to celebrate holidays with us – sometimes so much that we have thanksgiving a week early or a few days late in order to get everyone in the same place at the same time. I am thankful that sometimes a new recipe works, and family is mostly polite when it does not. I love that one year we ate stovetop stuffing in my sister-in-law’s camper, listening to the rapid fire of the first day of Alabama duck season, just so they had family for the holiday on the first year they moved to a new state. Imperfect holidays are a reflection of the reality of family life. Over the years, we have invited strangers, grieved empty chairs, added booster seats and made room for wheelchairs. The centerpiece is never perfect. The china is sometimes Chinet, and I am blessed that holidays don’t have to be perfect to be pretty good!
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