Every year at this time, the reality of what I have gotten myself into begins to sink in and I am overwhelmed with alternating waves of anticipation and fear, of exhilaration and desperation. This past week I had a realization; Thanksgiving is just around the corner! It is a realization that brings along with it a mixture of joy, because it is my favorite holiday, gratitude, because I am blessed with wonderful friends and family to share it with, and terror that I will lack the ability to make it happen.
I have been cooking Thanksgiving dinner for many years now and after each year I tell myself, and my grinning friends, that I will never ever do it again. Yet every year, when Thanksgiving rolls around, I have conveniently forgotten about my vow and I promise my friends that I will cook, “ but only for a few people this time, no more than six!”
It is never six. Six is always twelve and twelve is sometimes twenty-five. I’m sure plenty of people can handle cooking a three course sit-down meal for twenty-five people without losing their composure, I am not one of those people. As the guests start arriving I become a monstrous muddle of nerves, I refuse entry to the kitchen, and tell people not to talk to me. The balance between making it happen and letting it happen becomes impossible to negotiate and at more than a few moments through out the day I find myself asking, “how did I end up doing this, again?” It is only after the meal is served, and I glance over at my friends, fat, happy and lethargically sprawled about the room, that I find the answer to my question: I do it because I want to and because I can. I can.
This year, the sensible list of ‘six’ guests is currently at eleven. “But what about Jessica?” Margeaux asked me this past weekend,
“Alright, twelve, but her husband can’t come!”
I am determined not to let the number grow, but with two whole weeks left until Thanksgiving, anything can happen.