When it’s time to grow up and cook a damn turkey

Only grown-ups host Thanksgiving.

That was my first thought when I heard hints that perhaps it was our turn to gather everyone together for turkey dinner.

Us? Prepare and serve one of the fanciest meals of the year to a large group of relatives? You do realize that we only recently stopped eating Hamburger Helper and we only own one pot with a lid?

Michael and I started dating in Grade 11, so we have spent the last 14 Thanksgivings attending meals at each other’s family homes. My family’s dinner was always a small affair for three (four, once Michael joined us), but his family’s dinner often included more than 20 immediate family members. That’s a lot of pie.

Traditionally, Michael’s older sisters take turns hosting Thanksgiving dinner and Christmas dinner while his parents host Christmas Eve. They do a lovely job, and we’ve been happy attendants. They both have dining rooms with actual dining room sets, plus kitchen tables, and more chairs than you could ever want. They also have luxuries like gravy boats and silver ladles and … more than nine forks.

One of his sisters will be away with her family over Thanksgiving this year, and it’s her turn to host. So Michael suggested we could step in. This will be the first Thanksgiving dinner that combines both of our families, so that’s convenient in terms of scheduling. We also don’t have the trek into the city, so that’s another bonus.

But as for numbers … *counts on fingers* … oh dear, that’s a lot of people. Is it hot in here? I feel a little faint.

We do alright hosting family birthday parties and the odd BBQ, but those are affairs when it’s OK to use paper plates and big plastic bowls of chips. Thanksgiving is the big time. Real dishes, real flatware, probably even cloth napkins. I used to own exactly four of those, and we never used them so I donated them. I hope they’re happy in their new home.

As much as I have fear hosting Thanksgiving, I’m grateful for the kick in the pants it’s giving me. Since Michael is the youngest of his family, we’ve always been the junior adults that never had the full responsibilities of everyone else. His sisters were completely capable of hosting everyone for the holidays when they were younger than us, so it’s time we stepped up.

The turkey may be overcooked and I can’t make any promises about the creaminess of the mashed potatoes, but we’re going to do our best. We’re going to put on our grown-up aprons and figure out how to make a huge meal for a huge group without the help of the BBQ and packages of hamburger buns.

Yes, our little house will be crowded and we don’t have a dining room (or that many chairs), but we’ll just call it “cozy.”

After all, Thanksgiving is about getting together with the people you love and feeling grateful for each other — hopefully not while dodging lumps of flour in the gravy.

So what do you think?

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