The Imperfect Thanksgiving – Lessons Learned

 Twas the day before Thanksgiving and all through the night I thought about cooking the perfect turkey. NOT (anymore).

The enemy of perfect is done. Someone said that quote to me last night in reference to deciding whether or not to start your own business…but it can apply to so much in life. In business if you wait for a perfection to make a decision, you’re wasting precious time to have learned whether the decision was right or wrong and adjust accordingly. If you wait until you are perfect until you let someone into your life, then you are wasting your love. If you wait until someone else is perfect, then you are wasting your life.


One Thanksgiving I learned this message many times over. I was living with a boyfriend at the time and things were going a little sour. I was planning on going home for Thanksgiving but he begged me to stay and make Thanksgiving dinner…for he and his 5-year daughter. He thought it would be a bonding experience for the three of us.

I decided okay I would give it a go. Love a good challenge.  So I then decided I had to do my first Thanksgiving dinner exactly the way my mom did it. Turkey, stuffing, oyster thing, parker house rolls, gravy, corn pudding, pumpkin pie….all made from scratch. All while also helping teach a 5 year old the joys of cooking. A recipe for disaster.

Fast forward to the BF spending the day at the gym, watching football and getting upset when his idea of family bonding didn’t work out the way he planned…e.g. me babysitting the daughter while he chilled out. Let’s just say 5 is not the age to have a young girl in the kitchen while cooking a full-on Thanksgiving dinner.  There’s a big difference between easy bake oven and a 12 pound turkey coming out of the oven sizzling hot.

Instead of dreaming of our wonderful future I was getting increasingly annoyed and fantasizing about my escape back to New York City.  But still trying to hold on to some semblance of the “holiday”,  I was determined to make the best of it.  I had set the table, making it as much a ritual of tradition and beauty as it was when I grew up.  At one point I looked over and BF’s daughter was playing with the candles and trying to light them. I rushed over to tell her to stop. BF gets mad at me for raising my voice. I get madder at the craziness of it all. Daughter is crying. Then I had a freeing moment. I realized that we all were seeing this in such a different way.  I saw something beautiful. BF saw a bunch of junk on the table. Daughter sees something to play with.

So perfection is only in the eye of the beholder. The realization that it couldn’t be just my idea of perfect helped make the next few hours fun. A truce was called and we went merrily onward to dinner. It even lasted through sitting down to dinner when BF says that we have to have the football game on during dinner because that is what “his family always did”. In my new “my perfect is not the only perfect” world, I said. “Okay. I will accept that as long as when we get to dessert we turn off the TV and a honor a little civility.”

Upon the mention of dessert, BF and daughter decide that actually we should have dessert first. Suffice it to say that somehow the day ended with me throwing the pie in his face. It was a fabulous experience.  So in this case, my embracing imperfection did indeed end in done.  It was that aha moment when you know a relationship is over and you are so ready to move on. What a freeing moment! So I got rid of my need for perfection and a bad boyfriend too. Thank you 20-something Thanksgiving (I was 28).

What I know now:

  • Leave some room for imperfection when doing your first Thanksgiving.
  • Giving up on perfection only works in a relationship if the other person gives up on perfection too.
  • Accepting imperfection does not mean accepting bad behavior.
  • Sometimes throwing a pie is the only solution – and the best dessert.

Here is to an imperfect Thanksgiving for all!


P.S. Have to say he wasn’t such an awful guy but Thanksgiving did seem to bring out the boorishness in him!

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