What Are You Thankful For?

Thanksgiving Fail? Or success?

Today is Thanksgiving Day in America.

A day where many of us have the day off, cook a huge meal and gather with family and friends to give thanks.

For me, today was also a realization of how far I’ve come from the overachieving perfectionistic person I once was. This photo of the pumpkin bread I attempted to make this morning is a perfect representation of that.

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Ten years ago, I would have been a stressed out, bawling mess over this.

Today, I laughed my ass off over it. (And then ate the streusel off the top. Hey, waste not, want not, right?)

What isn’t pictured are the Brussel sprouts that didn’t roast correctly (which I make at least two or three times a week so I have no idea what happened there), and the gravy that had a slightly funky taste when I did a taste test.

Even though I followed the exact recipe when I made it last month it still was just — off. (It tasted great with the mashed potatoes, though, so it wasn’t a total loss.)

My first time making a Thanksgiving meal for my family as a wife and mother was a huge, stressful ordeal (of my own making).

It was about ten years ago and my kids, who are young adults now, STILL TALK ABOUT IT. (We usually have a good laugh over it too.)

I thought my first meal had to be perfectly done and on time exactly at noon. (I know, sounds so stupid, doesn’t it??)

I have no idea where I got that idea from other than maybe it’s because my mom is an extremely good cook, who can whip up a meal in about 30 minutes to feed 100 people from scraps she just throws together.

I wish I was exaggerating but I’ve seen her do it. (Okay, maybe not 100 people, more like 10, but still — that level of talent is unmatched!)

Me, I’m lucky if I get the instructions on a box of mac ‘n cheese correct. And that’s usually after digging it out of the trash because I accidentally threw it away, and reading the instructions a million times for each step too.

It’s been so long since that first Thanksgiving meal that I don’t remember all of the details.

What I do remember is lots of stress, lots of yelling at people to get out of the kitchen so I could think, and my mother-in-law showing up in time to see me running to my bedroom in tears from the overwhelming situation.

No matter how much she tried to reassure me it was okay not to be perfect, that it didn’t have to be “on time” it didn’t matter.

To me, I was a failure.

Ever since I was a kid, failing at anything meant I was a failure at everything.

My self-esteem was completely shot and I had a bad case of comparison-itis by the time I was in my 30s and had that first Thanksgiving meal.

Everyone else was a better wife, better mom, better cook, better employee, better everything.

Since then, I’ve done a lot of work on myself. I’m now in my 40s and truly comfortable with being imperfect.

I’ve learned to let many things go (not all, but most) and accept that life is literally a story we’re living in, with plenty of plot twists, drama, adventures, and unexpected blessings.

And for that, I am so thankful.

It means I’ve grown in my understanding of how life really is — imperfect and inconsistent.

Without those imperfect moments, we aren’t tested or shown a way we don’t want to be.

It’s only in those moments, or the reflections of them later in our life, when we have a deeper understanding of why we experienced them.

It’s the catalyst to change.

Changing who we are now to who we want to be and who we’re meant to be.

So today, I’m celebrating not only thankfulness for my family, my friends, the food on my table (edible or otherwise) and so many other things.

I’m also celebrating positive growth in my life.

Tell me, what was your Thanksgiving Day like today?

Were you stressed out trying to feed a family or enjoying your family instead?

When you think back over the day, what lesson (or lessons) did you learn or can you learn from the day’s events, whatever they may be?

Take some time to reflect on these — either in your journal or through meditation — and drop me a message at dawn@dawnreneerice.com to share your thoughts!

Love and Light,

Dawn-Renee

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