I should've taken a lesson from last year that Thanksgiving is just easier when I cook as much food in advance as possible. Last year I don't remember feeling desperate for 4 ovens. I don't remember having to stall the turkey in order to cook the side dishes. Things just worked better last year... oh ya, I woke up at 3:00am to start on everything. This year I didn't start until breakfast was over, and I found myself unhappily "chained to the stove" until Ryan's little two-hour break before he left for work again. As a result I felt guilty for neglecting the kids and I felt rushed to have everything completed precisely at Ryan's "go" time--and then it was difficult to relax and enjoy the meal anyway. It had me asking, was it worth it? The best part was talking with the kids about what they're grateful for. Their simple answers center me and bring me back into focus.
After dinner was over and the kids were in bed, I contemplated whether I had the energy to drag the tree out of the garage and put the Christmas decorations up. Ryan was working 26 out of 30 nights in November, and the thought of me asking him to put up the tree between shifts garnered the mental image of tired, flat rejection. I'm learning more and more that if I want something done, I just have to do it myself. Needless to say, I changed my mind a few times and then finally relented, wrestling the gigantic tree box in. The next morning my kids woke up and raced toward the tree in excitement. I purposefully left some ornaments in their boxes so the kids could help decorate the tree and feel the pride of knowing they contributed to its beauty. Now every day we talk about everything we love about the holidays, our plans this year, what we're looking forward to, and of course, how many times we have to wake up before Santa comes! Seeing the world through their eyes... nothing better.