Thanksgiving Without Turkey (and stress)

Image courtesy of Pexels

Image courtesy of Pexels

I see all the amazing recipes and Instagrams of set tables. I see people playing football at the park and the mad rush to grab that last minute item at the grocery store. The air smells like roast turkey. It’s Thanksgiving Day….and I’m in bed.

The last couple weeks have been rocky for me. I had to quit my job (which I was really loving) because I couldn’t work as many hours as they wanted me to. The stress from the incident set off some PTSD symptoms and I’ve been going in a downward spiral. The migraines are back, I’m constantly sleepy and sleeping way too much. I can’t help it. When my body is stressed, it shuts down — total system failure — sleeping beauty — wake me when this is over. I can fall asleep anywhere right now. I can barely keep my eyes open during the day.  I can’t concentrate. My brain feels like a bowling ball and I’m so very dizzy. I feel nothing, which is both blessing and curse. I’m not crying my eyes out, but I don’t feel happy either. I know in my head and in my heart that I’m ok, but my body isn’t coping very well. Which brings us to today. We had an early Thanksgiving with my inlaws and it was fantastic! Absolutely delish! My mother in law is an incredible cook! But today, on this Thursday, I woke up having to use my essential oils to rouse me out of the grog, and it hit me that I had absolutely nothing planned for dinner — on Thanksgiving day! We could have leftovers, I suppose. Woohoo. Ben works on most holidays (sick people need help on holidays too) and we’ve figured out how to make that work in our favor. He will get home around 7 and then we will eat dinner together. What dinner? Pizza?

I don’t have the energy to spot clean the house and make a turkey dinner. These last couple weeks we’ve been keeping Domino’s pizza in business. Baking pies? Ha! There must be an easier way. We have leftover stuffing, and gravy from Mom C’s house so I’ll be using that. My dear sister watched the kids so I could run to Winco up the street and grab whatever else I needed. I walked in the door and glory be! Pies: Check. Then to produce to buy spinach for salad and potatoes for mashed potatoes. I have a can of green peas at the house I can cook in butter for the kids who aren’t crazy about salad. I pick up a veggie tray for us to snack on throughout the day. Veggies: Check. Croissants, butter, eggnog: check check check. Now for the Turkey conundrum. They have a ton of frozen turkeys, but I’m wondering if I could even get it to defrost in time and even if it did, would I have the energy? Probably not. I remember a french film I watched where they ate chicken with chocolate sauce. Bingo! Two roast chickens from the deli and some 5 ingredients Hersey’s syrup that I can doctor up at home. Perf!

I left feeling pretty proud of myself. Sure, my house isn’t as clean as I ‘d like, but the dishwasher is running and so is the washer and dryer. The kids are playing happily in the next room. I don’t need to do anything with dinner until 5:30. I may not be having a Martha Stewart worthy feast, but it will be warm and delicious — and I won’t be stressed. I’m not rushing around. I’m back in bed, feeling another nap drawing me in. Do I miss my big fancy thanksgiving dinners? Of course, but this is just this year. I can always try for a more elaborate holiday next year, when maybe, I won’t be so tired and overwhelmed. But this year, God is meeting my family where we are, not where we think we ought to be. We are not bound by traditions or expectations. We are free to relax and lean into another wonderful day of rest. This is the day that the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it….even if we aren’t eating turkey.

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About Abra Carnahan

Abra and her husband, Ben, have been married since the summer of 2004. They live in Idaho where she stays home with their four children. Having survived Hyperemesis Gravidarum and diagnosed with PTSD, Abra is passionate about pursuing God and her hobbies: reading, archery and eating cheese.