The great Benjamin Franklin once said, “In this world nothing can be certain, except death and taxes.” (Thanks, Googs)
While that may be true, there are other less-certain certainties in life that we can count on year after year. One of these such certainties are holidays. Specifically, Thanksgiving.
I’m not gonna to lie, I don’t know much about Thanksgiving other than what I can gather from its name, my mislead childhood learning of pilgrims and Native Americans, and the fact that I celebrate it year after year.
So why the hell do I celebrate it year after year? As a kid it made sense. Someone threw you in a car on Wednesday night and drove your sleeping ass to your grandma’s house three hours away. You slept in Thursday morning and spent all day playing Mario Kart and Diddy Kong Racing with your sister and cousins. (You didn’t actually own Diddy Kong Racing, but your dad let you rent it from Blockbuster just this one time to get you to shut the fuck up about it for the rest of the year)
You ate everything in sight in seconds, and even thirds, with zero remorse. Afterward, while the men were drinking beer and watching football, you slipped out the front door with your favorite cousin to climb and hide in some trees down at the park before your aunt could get a hold of you and make you help all the other cousins with the dishes. “See ya, sucker,” you mouthed to your dickwad sister as you ran past the kitchen window, flipping her off. Teach that bitch to hit you with the red turtle shell a mere seconds from victory.
Isn’t that what Thanksgiving is supposed to be about? Flipping off siblings and not giving a shit about anyone but yourself and occasionally your fun cousin? Not anymore, not in the adult world.
Now, instead of sleeping in the backseat, dreaming of Stove Top Stuffing and Reese’s No-Bake Dessert Bars (our Thanksgivings were what my dad liked to call “budget-friendly”), you’re now driving said car, arguing with your boyfriend about why he had to wait until you were completely ready to walk out the door to take his morning shit, and how he thinks maybe if you didn’t have the makeup routine of a circus clown, you could have made it to your destination prior to his morning shit. Whatever, you’re still late.
Luckily, anyone and everyone in the history of Thanksgiving has never served Thanksgiving dinner when they said they would. So you walk in the front door just in the nick of time.
You load your plate with delicious food. But you can’t even enjoy it because your anxiety grows in conjunction with the mountain of dirty dishes filling the sink. But at 27, running out the front door and flipping off your boyfriend’s grandma to avoid doing dishes is no longer acceptable by normal societal standards. So you down your third glass of red wine and hope it kicks in long enough to make you forget you’re doing the dishes, but not so long that you insist on everyone following you out to the pool for a polar bear plunge, which turns into a polar bear plunge party of one. And an invitation to never return to Thanksgiving dinner.
But with age and wisdom inevitably comes responsibility. So what is Thanksgiving all about? It would seem that every year, Thanksgiving proves to be symbolic of all of life’s experiences and emotions:
Elation at the fact that we don’t have to see our bosses for four whole days.
Excitement when you see your cousins that you haven’t seen since last Christmas.
Orneriness as you gossip with your sister and pick apart your older cousin’s skanky new girlfriend in the crop top. Unless you’re the skanky new girlfriend, then this falls under anxiety.
Anger when, even at 29 with two children of her own, your fucking asshole sister won’t STOP HITTING YOU WITH THE GODDAMN RED TURTLE! LET ME WIN ONE FUCKING ROUND OF MARIO KART FOR ONCE IN MY LIFE YOU DICK!
Impatience as you smell the turkey cooking in the oven.
Entertainment when you hear your stubborn aunt and your stubborn father argue over whether the can of yams is supposed to be drained prior to going into the oven.
Culture when your aunt does it her way anyway, and you become the only family on Thanksgiving to have Yam Soup with floating marshmallows.
Happiness as you sit around a table with all the people you love.
Anxiety as you calculate the amount of time it’s going to take you to get through the dishes when all you want to do is sneak out to your car for a little cat nap.
Satisfaction when you find your grandma’s key to the bathroom and unlock the door in the middle of your sister’s post-Thanksgiving poo, for all the family to see. Revenge has never smelled so rancid.
Embarrassment as your dad and uncle ask your boyfriend if you’ve ever told him about Uncle Johnny who’s about to get out of prison. Whose favorite niece happens to be you.
Sorrow as the holiday comes to an end, and everyone says their goodbyes.
Anticipation for next year’s Thanksgiving with everyone sitting around the same table again.
Heartache when a family member you assumed would always be there, sitting at the head of the table, won’t be next year. Or any years to come.
Bittersweet as you cherish the holidays with loved ones a little more, and hug everyone a little tighter than you did when you were a kid. Because when you were kid, you and everyone else was invincible. And now we’re not. (But they still deserve to be flipped off and put in their place every once in a while, *cough* Maddi *cough*)
Faith that the newest little shithead additions to the family table will carry on the torch, and hope that younger siblings everywhere get sweet revenge on their older siblings on Thanksgiving, and everyday after.
So this Thanksgiving, I encourage you to put on your big girl panties, let your boyfriend take his morning shit whenever he wants, and pack a pair of yellow dish gloves. Because trying to get at the marshmallows in your Yam Soup might make you feel like you’re bobbing for apples, and doing dishes fucking blows, but at least you’ll be in good company, making memories to cherish when the ones we love may no longer be around to make memories with.
And for the sake of your sanity, I beg you, please spike the egg nog.