I love all of the holidays, and always have. My mother made my brother and I hunt for Easter Eggs every spring until I was in my 20s. As long as she lived, the holidays were enforced, in a good way.

Since we’ve set out in earnest to adopt kids, I’ve looked forward to enforcing holiday celebrations on the next generation, like it or not. It will be fun! But holidays have also become this sort of marker. “I bet we’ll have kids this summer.” “by Labor Day.” “…by Halloween”… and so on. So with Thanksgiving coming and no one to force to make hand-trace turkey decorations, I was a little on edge.

We had family in town and had dear friends coming over, so I should have been in high spirits, but I’d been out of sorts, getting over a cold. Low energy. Embarrassingly minor, trivial things started getting to me. I’d compromised on the Turkey start time–growing up in the south we ate Thanksgiving dinner at 1pm! But I’d agreed to 4 or so and had the turkey and side dishes on schedule. Then as I felt my energy flag and thought I might be relapsing, we found out our friends thought we had a 5pm start! Quelle horreur! My food timing anxiety kicked into high gear, and I had the sinking feeling I get when I fear something ridiculous and unimportant was going to sour my mood. This doesn’t happen a whole lot, but ask anyone who knows me–it’s not pretty when it does!

Then another mishap — a minor but unavoidable crisis with our friends meant we couldn’t start the meal for maybe another hour.

And in the way miracles work, this last little thing was what cured me. We nibbled on the cheese snacks, we hung out and had nice conversation. I let go of the absurd illusion that I can control everything and everyone, and instead had a lovely evening. When it was time to eat, the turkey (gorgeous, just as Saveur’s The Perfect Bird: How to Roast the Best Thanksgiving Turkey promised), it was still nice and warm, and everything was better than perfect, because something had finally broken me out of my controlling mode.

If that’s not something to be thankful for, I don’t know what is!