Oklahoma City family fun gives us happy things to do that are meaningful, activities that punctuate life beyond the laundry basket.
Thanksgiving is right here and I'm so glad. Grateful, yes, but also just happy that it's coming, if not a little overwhelmed. There are amazing events happening and I want to see them all, from parades to community dinners and holiday markets.
School is out next week and we have holiday plans plus other plans and just way too much to do. I get the feeling a lot of parents are also surprised this year that we're here already, staring down Thanksgiving week. Moms everywhere are starting to gather their supplies, edging toward the holiday armed with butter and basting brushes and phone reminders set for all hours of Thanksgiving morning.
I'm looking at my calendar with a blue Sharpie in hand and thinking there just are simply not enough days to do everything I have scribbbled down to get done during "free time," which includes reorganizing drawers and closets, volunteering at a shelter to serve a Thanksgiving lunch, running a turkey trot and buying a Christmas tree. Shopping for meal ingredients has to happen this weekend because I didn't select one of those just-go-to-the-store-and-pick-it-up meals. I haven't bought a turkey yet and might totally skip it.
We're also planning to leave and see family, the actual main activity of the holiday that feels more pushed aside than ever with the pressing weight of Christmas consumerism.
And in-between everything, we are tasked with cultivating gratitude in our children, besides sincerely feeling grateful ourselves for all that have.
I am grateful for simple things like a dryer that works after the heating coil in mine gave up last week. A dishwasher that washes after mine also stopped working during Strep Throat Week 2018 a few months ago also tops my list of life conveniences I appreciate. Time is the currency in which I count most these days with four kids under 12. There's not always or even usually time to consider all that we are thankful for, no matter how many life advice coaches and books suggest keeping a list. We already have too many lists.
Families are so pressed to do it all and get it all done. As women, we feel the pressure from every angle, right? Even our own mirrors and Instagram accounts. There's that gorgeous magazine cover with lemon chiffon cake and an ironic headline next to it about how to lose 10 pounds in 10 days. Somehow, we're supposed to maintain a house, a waistline and our sanity, anchored in gratitude and buoyed by boundless energy. We're supposed to read all the bedtime stories, pack all the lunches (organic, of course) and run all the races. Smile. Buy lipstick. Sell lipstick. Wear lipstick.
Here's the truth: no matter how much lipstick you buy, sell or wear, it's still you under all that and your workload. So take care of yourself. Not so you can keep doing all the things for everyone but for yourself, your health, both physical and emotional. If that means buying jarred cranberries this year, do that. Even if they're jellied and kind of keep the shape of the corrugated can, that's fine.
Take the easy route this holiday. You've earned it.
We lose a great many creative, happy women to the laundry pile. Don't be one of them. Your kids can help you, if they're old enough, and if they're not, they won't remember whether you matched up all the socks or not.
So I stare at this calendar full of plans and tear out the page. Gone. Yes, I'll still go serve a dinner at a shelter with my oldest son because that is important in a state where one in six of our fellow Oklahomas goes to bed hungry. I'll run my turket trot and I'll make a dinner. But it'll be like Stovetop stuffing and microwaveable green beans because these sweet little children don't know the difference. What they do know is if I can do the craft they want to do, if I am happy to see them, if I am happy to there with them. That's what they'll remember. And I want to be happy doing those things, just taking some down time. My Black Friday is going to be spent looking for the perfect Christmas tree. We don't need any more things and for that, I am truly thankful.
I hope the kids can live with messy drawers and closets because that all takes a lot of time to sort out. It's working so far but I will try because clutter isn't good for anyone's mental health. #priorities, though. A day out is something they'll know we did. We'll have time to fold everything neatly one of these years.
If you want to take your kids to volunteer, here's a list of places to do that. Factory Obscura's new BEYOND exhibition is creative and inspiring and you should go see this variety of bizarre art before it's gone; the temporary exhibit ends Dec. 21. I'll post next week about why visiting Main Event with your kids is a fun thing to do over Thanksgiving weekend.
Right now, though, just take care and enjoy everything. Don't worry about buying, selling or what you're wearing.
My Mom's lipstick color of choice was the same year after year when I was growing up: Wine on Ice. That's also a legit recommendation this time of year. Raise a glass to a year of things to be thankful for. Chill.
I hope your Thanksgiving is the happiest ever.
P.S. I just picked up my toddler from preschool and he apparently informed all his classmates that we're having pizza for Thanksgiving, along with apple slices and pumpkin pie. Not sure where he got those ideas but I'm not opposed to that as a memorable dinner alternative.