Happy December, everybody! I don’t know about you, but I felt like Thanksgiving weekend went by way too quickly. Time flies when you’re having fun or something. My Thanksgiving this year was worlds better than last Thanksgiving. Scratch that. It was an entire universe better. On the whole, I had a wonderful weekend filled with family, friends, good food, and lots o’ love. Partially to inform the general public, and partially to process the weekend myself, I decided to tie my Thanksgiving recap into a What I Ate Wednesday post, courtesy of Peas and Crayons!
My dearest, closest friend came for Thanksgiving this year, which was wonderful. My mom picked my friend up at the airport on Wednesday and dropped her off at my place of employment, where she got to wait around for me to finish my shift. When I got off of work, we headed into town and ran some errands while we waited for my family to gradually trickle into town.
After everybody had arrived, our chaotic group of seventeen descended upon a local restaurant for dinner. I ordered this awesome thin-crust pizza with fajita chicken, garlic, onions, and mushrooms. It was fantastic. In addition to part of this pizza, I shared a slice of a pesto and artichoke pizza with my friend, which was excellent as well.
On Thanksgiving morning, I made little thank you notes for everybody who would be at our meal. As is the case in most families, I relate to some of my family members better than others. This activity gave me the chance to think of reasons to be grateful for even those to whom I do not feel as close or connected.
The rest of Thanksgiving was mayhem and insanity, which I mean in the best way possible. I love to cook, especially for other people, so my friend and I took over most of the meal preparation responsibilities. Unfortunately, I have a very small kitchen and it is necessary to cook in shifts and weave around one another in order to successfully prepare a meal in said kitchen. We started cooking at about 10am and pretty much ran nonstop until we ate our Thanksgiving meal, which was around 4. When all was said and done, we turned out a pretty impressive meal!
Because I didn’t want to fall into the trap of letting myself get too hungry, I ate a normal breakfast on Thanksgiving morning and a little of my leftover pizza for lunch. I also snacked on some roasted brussels sprouts in the early afternoon.
Thanksgiving dinner itself consisted of turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, yams, beets, brussels sprouts with cranberries, green beans, homemade rolls, and cranberry sauce. I don’t want to talk up our cooking too much, but it was real good, y’all. My anxiety about eating too much still gets the better of me in challenging food situations, but the meal went well, overall. In retrospect, I can see places for improvement, but I felt so much more relaxed around food than I did last year, which makes the meal a victory as far as I am concerned.
Our family has a tradition of going for a long walk to look at Christmas lights after Thanksgiving dinner, and when we returned from our walk it was pie time. My friend and I made pumpkin, apple, butterscotch, and pecan pies. It had been a few hours since our Thanksgiving meal, and I was definitely hungry enough for a small slice of pie. I opted for pumpkin because it is my one true Thanksgiving love, especially when it’s made with real pumpkin and homemade crust. Mmm, boy.
Of course, Thanksgiving isn’t Thanksgiving without copious amounts of leftovers. Friday afternoon for lunch, I more or less ate a repeat of my Thanksgiving meal, with the addition of some carrots and un-pictured (but awesome) homemade pickles.
Continuing with the theme of leftovers, my cousin made turkey noodle soup from scratch for dinner on Friday. We ate rapidly because we were in a hurry to get to the parade that my town has on the day after Thanksgiving. We go every year, much to my chagrin. Fun fact: I hate parades.
My friend and I had spent the afternoon making decorations for my cousin’s surprise engagement party Friday evening, and we snuck away during the parade to finish setting up for the party. When everybody got back, we had fun talking over each other, laughing together, playing Telephone Pictionary, and eating ice cream cake. It was truly a lovely evening.
Saturday night, dinner consisted of more leftovers. My cousin’s husband has a tradition of making turkey enchiladas with his family after Thanksgiving, so he treated us to homemade enchiladas for dinner. He even made the tortillas and the enchilada sauce from scratch. They were an excellent use of leftover turkey, and we still have some in the freezer to finish up this week. Hooray for never-ending leftovers!
After dinner, some of us walked downtown (in the bitter cold, I might add) to check out a local brewery. When we got home, it was time to make peppernuts, a tradition carried out in quite a few Mennonite families. If you have never encountered peppernuts, they are tiny, delightful anise cookies that are usually made between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
My friend and I didn’t stay long, because she had a terribly early flight in the morning and I was feeling nervous about driving on icy roads. One of my cousins was nice enough to come home with my friend and me Friday evening and accompany us to the airport at 4:00am, something that I can add to my lengthy list of things for which I’m grateful. I was sad to see my friend go early Sunday morning, and it was hard saying goodbye to my relatives later that day, but enjoying the holiday with them was a wonderful gift.
By and large, my Thanksgiving weekend was a success. Perhaps it was not perfect and yes, I still dealt with disordered tendencies during the weekend and fought against destructive habits and thought patterns the entire time. Despite these things, I am overwhelmed with the things I have to be grateful for because I was able to wholly engage and enjoy my family and friends over the weekend, something I struggled to do a year ago.
My relationship with food, and with my body, has a long way to go before it is where I want it to be. However, when I look back on the last year, I am left feeling astounded and thankful for the twelve months of healing that have gone by. Day to day, my life is a roller-coaster of successes and pitfalls, but when I look at the big picture, I believe that I am still moving in the direction of health and happiness. This Thanksgiving, above all else, I am thankful for the hope of a better future that is offered through recovery. Even on the worst days, recovery offers the hope of a life centered around people and relationships, not calories and obsessiveness. That hope continues to shine brighter as I move along this path, and I am thankful for its bright beam of light in the darkest moments.
Whew. That wraps up my Thanksgiving recap, and this week’s What i Ate Wednesday post! I hope your Thanksgiving was full of genuine love and gratitude, if you celebrated it. I’ll be back tomorrow for some Thinking Out Loud!