celebration-315079_640What’s on the menu? Sure, it’s turkey, stuffing and sweat potatoes. But the Thanksgiving menu also seems to include some extra dishes, like:

1. Cold shoulder. Your brother doesn’t agree with one of your recent decisions. Of course, he could just let it go. But, he prefers to pass you the cold shoulder.

2. I Told You So soup. Your sister brought this one — she told you that your brother would hold a grudge. So, she’s holding this one time she’s right over your head. Nice.

3. Stew. And, because her husband (your brother) is mad, your sister-in-law brings along the stew. Arms crossed, eyes rolling, lips pressed. She’s steaming.

4. Conflict casserole. No one in the family is on the same page this year about, well, anything. Whatever you all discuss, someone disagrees. The conflict casserole overflows.

5. Jaw catcher. Caregiving doesn’t take a holiday, so you attend to your caregiving responsibilities throughout the day. More than once, you catch your brother, sister-in-law, cousin or cousin’s wife with a dropped jaw as they watch you. You hand out the jaw catcher.

6. A plate of sour grapes. Your cousin (is that how he’s related? You’ve never been able to figure out the blood line) would rather be watching the football game. You’ve forced him to leave behind the game to enjoy the delicious dinner you’ve created. But, he’s only eating one thing — the sour grapes.

7. Potatoes au Rotten. So, now your cousin’s wife is in a rotten mood. She’s keeping your sister-in-law company.

8. Guilt gravy. This is your specialty. You’re starting to debate: Should we eat in front of the TV? Should I apologize to my brother-in-law? Should I apologize to my sister-in-law and my cousin’s wife? Should I offer to make more food? Should I give everyone more drinks and then drive them all home? Should I?????

9. Dysfunction pie. Your spouse sees the questions filling your mind (your spouse can read your mind) and mouths to you: Fight the dysfunction!!

10. Just desserts. You’re back. To each his own dysfunction, you decide. It’s time for your favorite piece of pie.

What’s the special dish on your Thanksgiving menu? Tell us about your menu in our comments section, below.

About Denise

I began working with family caregivers in 1990 and launched Caregiving.com in 1996 to help and support them. Through my blog, I share words of comfort and offer coping strategies and tips. I also write opinion pieces about recent research, community programs and media coverage of caregiving issues. I've written several caregiving books, including "The Caregiving Years, Six Stages to a Meaningful Journey," "Take Comfort, Reflections of Hope for Caregivers" and "After Caregiving Ends, A Guide to Beginning Again." You can purchase my books and schedule a coaching call with me in our store.


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Theresa Wilbanks
Theresa Wilbanks

Thankless turkey with a side of irony. Brother comes so that husband and I can go to in-laws several states away, MIL going through chemo… Dad asks me to do all prep so that brother doesn’t have to do any work during his one visit of the year.