Over the last two years, my holiday season has become a ritual full of a special kind of dread. From the time I crank the oven to put in the Thanksgiving turkey, to the time I pack away the last slice of my birthday cake in January, I dread gathering with my folks.
Comparatively, I’m lucky. My family never engages in the kind of active warfare that so many other households entertain. I never have to moderate heated political battles, never have to smile in humiliation over grandpa’s colorful descriptions of the state of society, never listen to recriminations over travel expenses, never navigate factions, unwanted cousins, extraneous in-laws or the other assorted joys of bringing together folks for a fine meal. In fact, the most stressful part of the holidays for me is waiting to see if someone decides to take a shower ten minutes before the meal's out of the oven. (Someone always does).
The dilemma comes when it’s time to bow my head and say thanks.