Tuesday, October 14, 2008


So I agreed to have my family come over for Thanksgiving. I complained about it to everyone I knew. I freaked out that my place wasn't going to be clean enough. I worried that the children would be bored. I agonized over the fact that 890 square feet was not enough to fit 14 people - even if 4 of those people were little ones.

But at the same time I was happy. Happy that my family was going to see my place. Happy for the opportunity to be domestic. Happy to prove myself.

My brother and I had a fight two weeks before the event. I had asked him to help me pick up the table ahead of time and he said no. He told me that it wasn't too late to change my mind (isn't that a line used on brides-to-be, not someone hosting a family dinner?)

He made me doubt myself. He made me feel like I was stupid to suggest that this be at my condo. Stupid to think that this was a good idea. It made me wonder if my family wasn't just humouring me. Then when I remembered that no one told me that I didn't have to offer my place, it made me wonder if I wasn't doing this too late. Like my family hadn't already written me off as selfish - and that it was about bloody time that I stepped up to the plate and offered this.

My step-mom told me about how she had to consult with a friend to find out how to transport the chicken (we don't do turkey) to my place safely. My father offered to bring more cutlery. I discovered that the plates didn't match. The china set that I inherited from my mother only had 6 settings.

Then the day arrived. My step mom asked me to have the oven on at 200 for when she arrived. My step sister called and asked how big my oven was- regular or apartment sized. I had no idea how to answer. It looked the same size as every other oven I'd ever seen, but I'd never measured. My moment of panic passed after she hung up and I realized that I did in fact grow up in a house and it was the same sized oven as my parents have. Silly.

I didn't know what to do about all the oven requests. What about what I have to make? What about the harvest rice? What about my apple crisp? When do I make those? In the morning? They'll be cold by dinner time! People are supposed to come anytime after 3:00! What do I do?!

So at about 1:00 I started on the rice. Beautiful wild and brown rice presented in an
acorn squash. Very fall-like. I felt myself calming down as I was making it. Something about the vapors and the chopping. Very soothing and therapeutic. I love baking. But there's something about cooking that's even more comforting. Less pretentious. (Says the girl who eats a tuna sandwich for dinner every night).

By the time I started slicing and peeling the apples I was content. Everything was going smoothly and really? It was just my family. My step-mom lived with me. Odds are, she wasn't going tobtoher showing up with a white glove checking for dust. She knows my housekeeping skillz (yo) and anything I did to my condo would have to be an improvement over my habits from my University days.

So apparently "anytime after 3:00" means 4:45. Well, it was after 3:00. So I had lots of down time. I was 3/4 of the way through a movie by the time everyone arrived. I was almost too well prepared.

And then everything is a blur. My step-sister forgot to bring extra chairs, so the kidlets had to sit on the couch & floor to eat. I think it worked out better. And my brother-in-law, who rarely talks to me started chatting with me. Hmm. It only took 15 years for us to become friends. Nice.

And the finale? The best thing that came out of all of it?
My brother leaving me a message the next day saying that he was sorry that he misjudged me, and that the whole thing was fantastic. I almost cried.

I just hope that I never have to host Christmas. Cause seriously? I can't handle that kind of stress.



Psychgrad said...

Congrats on surviving that! 14 people - wow.

Anonymous said...

I remember hosting my first Christmas about 10 years ago and freaking out the whole time. Now, I am one of those people who has it down to a science and you will too...yanno, hopefully when you have more room.

Also? I am so glad your brother called to tell you what he did.

Backpacker momma said...

Good job!!

Ali said...

Great job Princess! You're a brave one, there is no way I would have gotten through it without a breakdown.
And mmmm, apple crisp...gah...

AmyTree said...

Awww, well done!!!!! (Yeah, take your kudos now and let someone else do Christmas - that thing's a nightmare!) The rice-in-squash sounds wonderful...I have a Thanksgiving coming up, may have to pester you for ideas!!

Chief Rock Chef said...

Hah, I never doubted that it would be wonderful! Congratulations!

server extraordanare said...

everything looked great! If I ever host a family dinner your helping!
Do you get to keep the table?

Glamourpuss said...

Well done and I'm pleased that your brother was man enough to admit his mistake.


Madison Lush said...

Holidays are the worst. My first time hosting thanksgiving with my BF at the time was crazy. My gram got drunk and set a towl on fire, twice.

Congrats on working it out.

the frog princess said...

Aww, now I'm totally wishing it were Thanksgiving here! Only, not quite, because that's at the end of November, and I have a LOT to get done before then!!

Glad everything went so well! Congrats! :)

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