For years, I felt a sense of ownership about Thanksgiving. I felt like, look, I'm happy to come to your house on 363 days of the year, but on Thanksgiving and New Year's Day, you're coming to me. Those two days I'll cook and cook. On Thanksgiving, in particular, I make the kitchen a complete hellhole of cranberry stains, pie crust scraps and turkey grease, and no one had better get in my way. I held onto that holiday with a stranglehold.
But this year was different. This year, we made the scant one hour drive up to Berkeley to visit with Colin's extended family. With his uncle, his aunts, and his cousins. There were newlyweds, a college senior, a thoughtful graduate, and a duo of little boys (okay, those were ours). There was a boyfriend, and several cats. And the smells that pervaded the two houses we visited -- representing two sides of this truly blended family -- were equally delicious and welcoming.
To be a guest on Thanksgiving in someone else's home -- in two homes -- was a true, and unexpected, pleasure. You get all the food and the family bonding with none of the stress. And when you leave, someone else cleans up, and you get to go home and watch Survivor. WHY THE $%#@ DID IT TAKE ME SO LONG TO REALIZE THIS?
Yes, we brought up bagels, and sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce and wine, but that was nothing compared with the amount of effort Alaina, a phenomenal cook at the ripe old age of 21, put into preparing the evening meal. All we had to do was sit back, eat, and relax. And then eat some more.
So thank you, to Alison, Kathleen, Federico, Ben, and David; and to Suzanne, Mac, and especially Alaina. It was a lovely day.
Being a guest is like being a hostess, only -- seriously? -- so much better.