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Thanksgiving traditions don't make everyone happy

The Thanksgiving menu planning starts the same way every year.

ME: What do y'all want to do for Thanksgiving?

THEM: We want you to cook.

ME: I was thinking we might go out for Thanksgiving dinner this year.

THEM: (Heartbroken) NOOOOOO!

What the kids are in denial about on this matter is multifold. Mainly, it's that they do not like nor do they eat what I cook for Thanksgiving. What then happens is I make 100 dishes to satisfy 100 appetites, I'm in the kitchen all day which is  frequently my only day off all Thanksgiving week  while they sleep on the couch, pretending to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

We don't have many traditions in this family, but jerking Mama's chain is one of them.

It's times like this I really miss my grandmother. We'd all go out to her house in West Texas, where SHE would cook all day and I'd lie on the couch or play with my cousins. My mom and her sister would get into a bitter dispute over how much sage goes in the dressing, and we'd all eat like pigs and play games afterward.

Come to think of it, our Thanksgiving isn't a whole lot less Norman Rockwell than that. Our crowd is much smaller, but we do have a few basic traditions that are fixed into the day, though in the past they have always included me working my rear off.

Yes, the kids are getting older and could pull more weight, but we all know they really don't want to. They're worn out from college and all that fun they're having and want to come home to get some sleep and have Mama spoil them.

What's changed is that now Mama is all worn out and is looking forward to them coming home so they can help me with the monumental task of GETTING THROUGH THE DAY  and life in general.

The dogs need a bath, someone needs to get up in that attic and get those Christmas decorations down, there are at least two good Superstore trips to be had, and I'd like to go see a movie. And this year, they are assigned the job of going through all their (forgive me) crap, so we can thin things out around here and get on with our lives.

Now, doesn't that sound like fun? If I don't watch out, they won't come home at all.

Back to the menu. Their dietary needs change every year and are particularly complex at the moment. This year I have a girl who is at least a vegetarian, and almost a vegan, except that she hates vegetables, and ice cream and cupcakes confuse her and cause her dedication to waver. The other girl is dabbling in the gluten-free realm, except there is a long and unhealthy love affair with dinner rolls and pie, which in past years as a picky eater have been 75 percent of her Thanksgiving plate.

Right now it looks like it's going to be ham and mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving. If I want any of my lifelong favorites, I will, as usual, be cooking and eating them by myself.

After all this cooking, just before dinnertime my kids like to dress up and take pictures, when I am in my sweats and a hot mess by the end of it. So we go out in the backyard, which incidentally could use a good poop-scooping (another chore that the parade/nap took precedent over), where I try to smile and not look like ... forgive me ... crap.

Despite my grumbling, something tells me this is one of those things I'll gripe about while it's going on, but I'm going to miss terribly the first time they don't make it home for Thanksgiving. So I'll just leave it at this: Happy Thanksgiving to all of the rest of you hard workers out there!

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