Someday, one of my five daughters will call me three days before Thanksgiving. She will be at that place I know so well, where dreams and realities crash.
Perhaps, a broken foot, will have put a quick halt to plans to caulk and touch up the basement walls, or sew the most adorable table cloth for a folding table.
I know the weight that is felt when you have a day and a half before 20 people arrive at your home and a list of jobs that would take a non-crippled woman a week to accomplish.
Here's what I'd tell my daughter--
Hang in there!!
Don't let worry and stress add to your burden.
Write a list, and do one thing at a time.
Start with yourself.
Shower, get dressed, eat a healthy breakfast, feast on the scriptures like you're sneaking a piece of pie for breakfast.
Love your little ones. Everything you do is to serve and celebrate with them. They don't care if the basement walls aren't perfect, but they will remember the FEELING of your home as you prepare for company. Let them feel your joy and excitement.
Love your company. Trust them to love you even if your garage is messy and you forgot to buy evaporated milk. They are coming to do Thanksgiving with you, they aren't coming to be dazzled by all you did before they came.
Go through your list and prioritize. If sewing a table cloth is something you really want to do, then do it! Just do something, keep moving gently forward. Remember what Dad always says, every year our holidays are magical. He never stresses about them and they are always magical!
Really, Thanksgiving is just one big dinner. And, you are the host of four amazing families who cook dinner every night at their homes. You'll be fine!!
Those cranky teenagers, they feel your stress. The best thing you can give your family is a happy mom for the holidays!
Give them an assignment-- let them be in charge of all the pies, figuring out the seating chart for mealtime, making a map of sleeping arrangements, finding videos for our starvation dinner, or put them in charge arranging a kid craft for Thanksgiving day. Kids love responsibility.
Don't cry if your 4 year old cuts a big chunk of her hair off. Don't doubt yourself if your older girls complain every single day about caring for the horse they begged you for. Don't feel overwhelmed if your clean laundry sits for a weekend on the floor of your bedroom because the morning you planned on folding was spent at the hospital. Honestly, it's ok if you didn't get your Christmas cards mailed before Thanksgiving. You're just normal and normal is good. Chicken won't die if their water freezes before you have a chance to set up extension chords and hot water heaters.
Holidays are FUN.
Without the joy of the season, you are missing something.
This last bit of advice I've really been contemplating. What would I say if my daughter, who was already overwhelmed, then mentioned she really wanted to pull out some Christmas decorations?!
This is what I think I might say...
Write a list.
Do first things first.
And, go for it!
You might not get your whole house decorated, but a little Christmas greenery and some twinkle lights will make your Thanksgiving festive. A lofty goal will pull you through that laundry folding quickly.
Thanksgiving is such a great holiday.
I am SO Thankful to have a home where I can welcome friends and family.
I'm Thankful for food and I'm Thankful for health!!!
A little limp is no big deal.
This year, I know that my mental state IS teaching my children how to host holidays in the years to come. I hope they learn to be happy and to feel the joy of the season.
Life is good.