I’ll admit it. I tend to overthink things. When I decide on something I want to get started now and work until it is finished. “Hhm. To get in shape I need to be active for at least an hour a day. That is 7 hours a week, 28 hours in a month, so if I work out for 12 days in a row I’ll be good for the year.” OK I exaggerate a bit but not much. I have learned to beware the zeal with which I approach new projects in favour of creating plans that have a bit more staying power.
With trying to do the “Eat Your Pantry” challenge from the Year Of Less blog I quickly spread out from saving money to making sure I hand made everything. That came with a huge amount of left overs, as there are only two of us, many hours searching for recipes that used what I had, and massive amounts of pots and pans to wash. I quickly learned that not every night could be new culinary creations. One night as I looked over a table brimming with hand pickled veggies, crockpot chicken, and a specialty salad with fresh made dressing I asked Josh what his favourite part was. Without looking up he said, “The rice.” The rice. The stuff I measured out into a steamer. The plain white rice. The counter was littered with every measuring cup and spoon, pots, bowls, knives and cutting boards I owned. I’d be washing up an hour at least and he liked the rice. I got the message.
To be honest I should have got the message many years ago, almost eight years ago to be exact. It was six days before Christmas that the three of us were moving into our new house. There was little time to put up a tree, unload and get ready for the holidays. In the middle of appliances that were not working and a phone line that didn’t get hooked up I realized it was Christmas eve and there was no way I was going to be able to put on a proper traditional Christmas dinner. I reached into one of the bins and came up with a package of taco fixings. I decided to chop up a red and green pepper and presented them to our son. “Here we go sweetie. Christmas tacos!” He was six and munched happily as I felt like a complete con artist. I promised myself that the next year would make up for it.
The next year I did thing up in style with an actual table cloth, candles, candied yams, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce, corn and of course the turkey. We sat down at the table and my son looked at everything and hung his head. “Josh, what’s wrong?”. He looked up at me, his eyes filling, “Mom, where are the Christmas Tacos? I’ve been looking forward to them all day, It’s just not Christmas without them.” I quickly promised we’d have some the next day and he perked up and we had a good dinner. I had no idea that he’s remembered that and that making a memory didn’t need all the crazy making activity. Since then it has become one of our traditions. The times that I’m the most stressed are a direct reflection on my expectations. It is not just the work that causes the stress but the expectation I have of what I must create in order to for me to call it a success. Sometimes I am a royal pain in my own backside.
Sometimes simple is enough. Sometimes simple is just better. This thanksgiving I will be alone for the first time. I thought about trying to create a big traditional dinner. Maybe I’ll just invite some people over for Thanksgiving tacos. Red and orange peppers make it perfect for Thanksgiving right?
May you all be richly blessed this thanksgiving and dwell on all that makes you truly grateful.