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Amanda Lamb: Giving thanks

Posted November 21, 2010

As a television reporter, I usually end up working on Thanksgiving. We all have to work one of the three big holidays, and for me, this is the most benign holiday to miss.

It is a holiday that revolves around eating, football and extended family. I'm not a big fan of heavy food. I know nothing about football. And, in my experience, extended family gatherings usually come with built-in stress.

Because my husband's family is here, and mine is not, he generally takes the girls to several Thanksgiving day celebrations. This involves multiple meals and lots of driving. The end result: Everyone is exhausted by the time I meet up with them after work. I am perfectly content to dine on takeout while they belly ache about all they ate.

Ultimately, I think we put too much stock in individual holidays. We build them up to be such an important day, but they rarely live up to our expectations.

In reality, the moments that mean the most in life tend to sneak up on us, and rarely occur during a carefully pre-planned event. It is when I am reading to my youngest daughter and she leans over and kisses me out of the blue. It is when my oldest daughter laughs at something funny I've said and her whole face lights up.

This year I give thanks for those moments. I'll leave the stuffing and football to someone else...

Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including one on motherhood called "Smotherhood." Find her here on Mondays.
 

8 Comments

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  • missparrothead Nov 23, 2010

    Kittboo- You've got to make this happen sooner than later. Life is too short. The longer you stay on the bandwagon, the harder its going to be to reverse the trend.

    When I grew up, my mother was in the kitchen all day on thanksgiving and christmas day. By the end of each day, she was exhausted. I've vowed that I don't want to do this. Everyone's different expectations make it a challenge this time of year. To avoid "conflict", we do T'Giving w/my inlaws(1 hr away) and Easter Sunday w/my parents (25 min drive).

    Carefree summer days at the beach w/my family are more relaxing.

  • lynne1931 Nov 22, 2010

    lokayatra:

    You are so right! We are so blessed! :)

  • lokayatra Nov 22, 2010

    Thanksgiving could be an year round affair. We Americans can be thankful for so many things in life - we are blessed in so many ways. Just think about it for a few moments. We need not slaughter turkeys and eat huge amounts of food to express thanks.

  • kimwells Nov 22, 2010

    The holidays don't have to be stressful -
    kittiboo - I decided years ago that I would cook at my house and anyone who wanted to come could, but I was cooking one dinner & that was it - when I say anyone, I mean my mother, sisters, mother-in-law and nieces & nephews. I'm not inviting family I don't see any other time of the year. Too much fuss for me -
    since doing it this way, we have one meal mid afternoon, the kids play, and those of us that want to watch football, others talk. We normally end the day off with family pictures in front of my fireplace with a few Christmas decorations we've all thrown out real quickly for pictures. In addition, I stopped being the one to cook everything and have others contribute - we normally do paper/plastic to throw away so there isn't the stress of cleaning up! We've made our own less stressful Thanksgiving and Christmas traditions! It has meant eating with only my husband and children, but that is fine too!
    Happy Thanksgiving!

  • kittiboo Nov 22, 2010

    I agree completely! What bothers me about the holidays is all of the obligations that come with them. I would LOVE to just stay at my house and cook a small dinner for my husband and daughter and just hang out together all day. But instead, we are obligated to go to 2 different houses in 2 different cities for 2 huge meals with people we hardly know. We end up exhausted and stuffed with unnecessary food and with a cranky child. One year we're going to have it MY way and do dinner at home with just us. We might be 80 years old by then, but it WILL happen!

  • lynne1931 Nov 22, 2010

    I agree 100% ! We should be thankful for the small joys throughout the year.
    With the holiday season comes stress caused by being with family members you don't see that often. So that right there sucks the joy out of the holidays for me.

  • howdiditgettothis Nov 22, 2010

    Well said! I am thankful for non-holi-days. Inlaws interactions tend to become frequently unpleasant, so I prefer non holiday-days myself.
    One good thing that's come from it is we have developed a few family traditions that don't involve any "family" other than us.

  • PAINFREE Nov 21, 2010

    I could not agree more! Holidays are fun, but often our expectations are so great that there is no way the holiday could live up to them. Stress does not make a fun holiday, and so I think we need to re-think how we celebrate. Down-size, minimize and reduce the stress and enjoy all 365 days, one at a time. Call me scrooge, but a meal together, even if it is from Hardee's, with emphasis on the togetherness will do just fine!