|It is exactly never like this!
Commentary by Greta Palmer
Words cannot express how grateful I am that the Thanksgiving holiday is over! Sure, it is supposed to be a marvelous time with family, friends, good food, and a season to reflect on one’s blessings. But this year, like many, many before, was taken over by so much awkwardness, guilt, anxiety, and what can only be described as weaponized consumerism that now that it is Monday morning I feel my heart swell with gratitude to the Lord for bringing Thanksgiving to an end.
Every year I try to tell myself that this one will be different, but it always turns out the same. Wednesday we reviewed Thursday’s schedule so that we were all on the same page—what time we would go visit my husband Taylor’s family and what time we’d visit mine, who would make what food and when, and how the kids would act around their cousins and weird uncles. But Thursday rolls around and it never goes according to the schedule. The inevitable Turkey Bowl lasts longer than the guys say it will, someone has inevitably torn an ACL, and if a fight hasn’t broke out there then it will break out somewhere between the pumpkin pie and the kid’s table once lunch rolls around.
This year, again, we got to my in-laws house and I was told “oh, you’re not late, we just call it ‘Greta time.’” And I love being told that my mashed potatoes are “a lot better than they were last year” and that I’m “really on my way to becoming a good cook and mother.” Nothing like first preparing plates for my complaining youngest children only to sit down to a meal richly seasoned with a healthy sprinkling of passive aggression!
My family is no better—women badmouthing the men who are in the other room yelling at a televised football game. Taylor and I inevitably get testy and annoyed with one another, making a bad situation worse.
If that Thursday were not enough, then comes the next day, appropriately called Black Friday, where consumerism, greed, wrath, and envy add the fourth witch to stir a Macbeth-like caldron of anxiety, fear, and despair. Every year I tell myself to not go overboard, not to be suckered in by deals that may cost less money but which are expensive in terms of my mental health. But then I end up in some long line in a store with too many people (and I’ve had too little sleep) fighting with another woman over trinkets to save maybe eight dollars over getting it next week. And this year the madness started on Thursday!
One new wrinkle this year: thank you, Max and Maddie, my very noisy newlywed cousins who “crashed at our place.” You gave Taylor and me a chance to discuss “married love” with our children. Oh, and a little pro tip: don’t leave the wrapper at the top of the trashcan in the nine year-old’s bedroom where you stayed the night, as that necessitates yet another awkward conversation.
So yah, I’m so very grateful that Thanksgiving is over!