Thanksgiving, a time to gather round with family and friends, a time to give thanks, a time to reminisce, and catch up but —- let’s face it, Thanksgiving can be stressful as hell. Aside from getting your look together to sit in the living room, you have to mentally prepare to surround yourself with people. Keep in mind a gathering of people can mean the meeting of many personalities, some stronger than others. We’d all like to think our loved ones mean well but in the moment sometimes it’s hard to tell.
For example, What do you say to your grandmother who’s been saying the same thing for years,
“You’re getting older girl when are you going to have some babies”?
“Whatever happened to so-and-so?”
— a reference to the person you brought to thanksgiving last year.
Part of us wants to crawl in the corner and hide when we are met with these types of questions, part of us may want to yell out the truth, “Well Nana, if you must know; I’ve been having trouble conceiving for the past 3 years and I don’t know if I’m able to have kids” or “We didn’t work out and now he’s back with his ex”. —- both very real experiences that many women face, but the truth is most of us just want to get through the moment… we want to respond in such a way that takes the spotlight off of us as quickly as possible and puts it onto someone else in the room. —- a skill I have still yet to master myself.
I will say over the years I have learned a few things about Thanksgiving with family:
1. You cannot control what is said- only how you react.
Sure I’d like to cuss out more than half of my family at any given moment during dinner, my grandmother included but I don’t. Again, its best to think people mean well, another very important thing to consider is a lot of people haven’t seen you since your last relationship or last life update so a lot of times they are genuinely curious. Remain level headed and don’t take anything personal
2. Its only for a day.
Count your lucky stars you don’t have to surround yourself with these people everyday.– keep a clock close, even consider coming up with an escape plan. “Damn its 7 o’clock already, let me get out of here I said I’d stop by my friends house.” Of course only you, me and anyone else who reads this knows you have no friend’s house to go to but setting an escape route to avoid the possibility of tension is always a MUST!
3. My favorite– have drinks on hand.
Depending on what kind of drinker you are, a lot of times having a drink or two can calm the mood, if you’re attending a dry house, pack something in your purse. Turn the “21 questions” into a game… take a sip every time someone says something out of line, it’ll lighten your mood, you’ll get a couple laughs out of it and you’ll be tipsy by the END, especially if your family is anything like mine — because they are always saying something out of order.
Regardless of how much stress or anxiety the holidays may bring you have to remember that some people don’t have a family or a house to go to— be grateful.
We never know what the next year may bring for any of us so take advantage of time spent even if your aunt gets on your last nerve. Eat, drink and be merry… being around family can teach us a lot about ourselves both good and bad, and being able to walk away from a gathering happy is honestly a blessing. Hell, sit at the kiddie table with the kids if you’re really that concerned, and I’m being completely serious when I say that…as you can see, here is my sister and I at the kiddie table last year.
Go to dinner with an open mind and an open heart. Family isn’t always easy but in the end they are our family, and that statement is in no way an admission to being around toxic friends/family so make sure you know the difference.
There are toxic family members and then we have those … (for lack of better words) “have no filter”, if they are toxic then stay home and have someone bring you a plate because you don’t need that kind of energy. In the end, everyone’s situation is different and you know what’s best for you…and whatever you do make sure it leaves your heart and your stomachs full.
So, Let this be a reminder, We all have that one aunt or uncle… with that being said
What are your plans for Thanksgiving?
What are some ways you avoid confrontation at thanksgiving dinner?
As always thank you for reading,