A few months ago, I decided I wanted to take my family down to the Smoky Mountains for Thanksgiving. It’s not the ideal time to go perhaps – no fall colors, a little chilly for hiking – but it works well in our busy schedule and it’s one of the places on my bucket list of family road trips. (Besides hiking in the winter means bigger views with no leaves in the way.) We always spend Thanksgiving with my brother’s family so I asked if they wanted to join us or if we should just part ways this year. They said they were in.
And now I feel a ridiculous amount of anxiety about this trip. I’m messing with a HOLIDAY here. We can’t cook all the foods we normally do. The weather may or may not be good up on the mountain where we’re staying. (It’s cold & snowy right now.) It’s a long drive – one that will feel longer for my brother with his three young children even though my drive is two hours longer. My family likes to hike but I’m not sure my brother & his wife do – even if we pick shorter hikes that work for the little legs of my nieces and nephew.
If something goes off schedule and it’s just my family. I can roll with it. Can’t get a fresh turkey? we’ll have turkey breast or ham or pizza. Fun! Snowy weather? We will toss on boots and layers and head out for a winter hike – maybe even go tubing. Fun! It’s an adventure! We’re building a family memory and will always remember our Smoky Mountain Thanksgiving.
But if something goes wrong that ruins a HOLIDAY for my brother’s family… when it wasn’t even their idea and they don’t particularly like changing traditions… I will feel guilt for a long time. Instead of having a cherished memory of our adventurous Thanksgiving, I’ll have lifelong teasing about the year Barb ruined Thanksgiving.
I’m watching the weather like a hawk. I’ve got a host of plans that work well for all ages of children present. I’ve worked with my uncle to get us a ridiculously good deal on neighboring condos. I’m willing to concede my hiking plans on Pajama Pant Friday after hearing the tone of voice with which those plans were greeted. (It appears that some things just should not be changed regardless of the circumstances.)
I don’t want to do this every year. I like our Thanksgiving tradition. I just think it’s so important to expose my family to new horizons (in this case literally) and I love knowing that we will have this experience together. I just hope it doesn’t cause my brother & sister-in-law to disown me forever.