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The table's a little smaller now, but I'm still thankful

When I was little, we always traveled to visit family on Thanksgiving, until one year it snowed and we couldn't make the trip. Somehow, we stopped going after that. Might have had something to do with the fact us "kids" started getting older and it was harder to corral us all together at the same time.


After I got married, I made Thanksgiving dinner for my in-laws every year. Turkey. Stuffing. Potatoes. The whole nine yards. I love to cook, and it was the perfect opportunity to go nuts (figuratively speaking). One year, I think I even made a crown roast, just because. We had mountains of food and several desserts and a table full of people. Then we'd go to my parents' house and do it all over again with "my" family.


I traded in-laws a while back, and we stuck to just one Thanksgiving dinner. Kids get older. They move away. We have other in-laws to compete with (well, it's not really a competition, but you know what I mean). My kids and grandkids celebrate "Thanksmas" with us now, a compiled holiday where there isn't so much running around and who's house do I have to be at when. We switched to ham because nobody likes turkey, and in the past couple of years, the kids brought pizza. Easy peasy, right? But I do still try to cook on the holiday, even if it's just me and The Big Guy. 


This year, we're having company for Thanksgiving! I get to cook! As I started making my grocery list-- turkey, green beans, sweet potatoes--The Big Guy says he wants ham. Nobody likes turkey. (This after he'd just bought turkey lunch meat, but I digress...) So, we called his sister, our company, and consulted her and the great-nephew traveling with her. Ham it is. They're traveling to Chicago, and they want to go into the city. They're only going to be here a couple of days, which now creates the issue of which day do I cook? Realistically, either day is fine, and for the other day, they want Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza because they can't get that where they're from. Best of both worlds, right?


As I whip up dessert, their family tradition, I'm hanging loose on when I get to cook the meal. Ham's in the fridge, beans are ready, sweet potatoes are on the counter waiting to be peeled and cooked. We're planning a day in the Big City to see Christkindlmarket and the Macy's Christmas windows, and the tree in Millennium Park. The company? They want to see the museums. Museum of Science and Industry, Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium, Adler Planetarium--but those things take a full day. In fact, in my experience, you can't see all the exhibits at even one of them in a day. The Big Guy suggested they make another trip in the summer when it isn't a holiday to see the museum campus. As the "in-law," I'll let them sort it all out, who goes where on what day, but if you're traveling at the holiday, wouldn't you want to see the holiday displays that aren't there the rest of the year? I wish we had time to do it all... The museums in Chicago are pretty spectacular.


Me? I'm ready for whatever gets decided. I get to cook a holiday meal. The table's a little smaller these days, but I'm thankful for the extra seats at the table this year. 

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