Guess what happens next week, Internet?
Thanksgiving Day of Football and Feasting!
I am ready. I am pumped. I am psyched.
I am totally going to kick some Thanksgiving ass, Internet.
But my poor mother-in-law… I think she is worried.
Now, she would never say it to my face that she is concerned, Internet. But she has been doing a lot of asking if she can help.
I believe this comes from a genuine desire to help me out. She is a very nice, helpful person, after all. Plus, she is an experienced Thanksgiving Hoster.
But I am guessing – and keep in mind that this guess is coming from a bona fide control freak – that she is feeling a little anxious about not having any influence on the Thanksgiving proceedings.
“So,” you say, “let her help! Help is awesome!”
To you I say, “Wow. You don’t know me at all.”
Allow me to stress a few things about me, the Resident Control Freak:
1. I have a tiny, nay MINUSCULE kitchen. It is seriously only big enough for ONE PERSON. Believe me, I know this from experience. My husband and I have cooked/unloaded dishes/unpacked groceries in that kitchen together many times. And he is a person I don’t feel bad about yelling at/bumping into/accidentally stabbing. (KIDDING.) (Sort of.)
2. I am very, very particular about many things. I have serious, specific ideas about washing dishes, washing vegetables, and handling meat. I care about where you put a dirty dish (on the right side of the sink) and where you set a vegetable (on the left side of the sink, preferably on a cutting board) and what you put IN the sink (ONLY dirty dishes and things you intend to put down the drain). I care about which dish towel you use to dry your hands or dry your dishes. I have very strong feelings about cleaning as you go. I even have TWO scrub brushes – one for dishes that go in the dishwasher; one for dishes that are to be handwashed. Are you getting the picture? CONTROL FAH-REAK.
3. I would so much rather be stressed about Making Food than be stressed about Whether You Are Following My Thousands of Weird Rules.
In an ideal world, I want my in-laws to come over, sit in front of a football game, eat the appetizers I will have thoughtfully prepared ahead of time, and WATCH THE GAME. Or snooze. Or chat. Or read a book. Until I announce that dinner is ready.
Oh my god, Internet. Do you not feel intense sympathy for my in-laws?
In response to past episodes of my whining about this holiday, you have thoughtfully recommended that I hand over a certain side dish to my mother-in-law to make… Or that I ask her set the table… Or any number of very smart and thoughtful and practical suggestions that will make her feel needed.
And to all of them, I pooch out my lower lip and say, “NUH UH. I don’t wanna.”
This is where you roll your eyes and think, “Holy cats, lady. I would give my left kidney for a mother-in-law who is helpful/someone to help me with Thanksgiving/an excuse to boss my relatives around.”
This is where you sigh loudly at me and say, “Just LET GO a little, weirdo. It’s not going to kill you if someone else makes the mashed potatoes.”
But Internet! I want it my way. Pout, pout, foot stomp.
I want to be a good hostess. Being a good hostess means making your guests comfortable. In order to make my guests comfortable, I need to be in control. But one of my guests also wants to be in control. So I can’t make her comfortable without relinquishing control which means I won’t be able to make her (or my father-in-law) comfortable.
And then my brain explodes.
Just to see if I can sway you in my favor just a little, let me add this:
My in-laws are flying here. So any food item they contribute to Thanksgiving would have to be [a] brought on the plane (is that even possible? I mean, can you put a tray of stuffing through the security x-ray?) or [b] bought here (and seriously, HOW is something store-bought going to be as good as something homemade?) or [c] made in my kitchen, which we have previously established as Not Possible Without My Being Dead or Unconscious.
And lastly, a tiny (or not-so-tiny) part of me wants to prove to everyone – to myself, to my mother-in-law, to whomever else who remotely cares about this ridiculous drama I’ve built up for myself – that I can do it. That I CAN make Thanksgiving dinner – from scratch, start to finish, by myself – without burning down the apartment or poisoning anyone.
What is it that they say about pride goeth before the fall and whatnot?
I don’t even know if I want advice or commiseration or if I just need some assurance that we will all get through this without hating each other or throwing a pot of yams at the wall or dealing with the horror of setting a peeled potato on the right side of the sink.
But I would like your thoughts. Even if your thoughts have nothing to do with Thanksgiving at all.
(Although fair warning: I reserve the right to respond to “Sheesh, girl, just give your MIL something to do” comments with a big ol’ pout face.)