Ask…And Be Clear

I learned something this past Thanksgiving. Something I wish I would have learned much earlier in my life.

I learned to be clear. To be very, very clear in stating what I want and what I would appreciate in the actions of another person. That person always has the right to tell you no, or to modify your request, however, I learned that you won’t know until you ask, clearly.

As I was preparing for Thanksgiving this year, I thought back to the previous year and how draining and stressful it was. We have hosted Thanksgiving for 13 years and I always look forward to it and it has quickly become my favorite holiday. I love cooking and preparing the different foods. Rare Thanksgiving treats. I love the smell of freshly baked buns, the skin, and golden brown on the turkey, crisp and hot as it emerges from the oven. It warms the house and smells like love to me. I enjoy the bustle our home has as family and friends eat, enjoy and then relax, rare moments in most of our lives today. So, I found it odd and a bit confusing to feel apprehensive about hosting Thanksgiving this year.

As I thought about what made the event so difficult, I realized that I was simply overwhelmed. It was just too much for one person. It was then, that I realized that I needed help. I needed to ask someone to assist me in the preparation. I needed help cleaning. I needed help peeling the potatoes and just help in the preparation in general.

In my ever non-confrontational style, I alluded to my husband that perhaps we should forgo hosting this year. After 25 years together, he immediately picked up on my insinuations and asked why as well as countered my hesitations with a few comments that I don’t recall. A few days later, I brought it up again. As we discussed it, it became even clearer that he enjoys hosting just as much as I do, so I could sense his disappointment.
Reluctantly, I agreed to host again. I also decided that very moment that I needed to be very clear that I needed help. I stated that I would unequivocally need his help this year, his help. I needed help in preparing the house as well as with food preparation. And I needed his full attention the day before. He agreed. It was that simple. I asked, he responded with a yes.

We spent the day peeling potatoes, baking pies, roasting the turkey, chicken and ham. Our house was a flurry of different foods being prepared. It was a full, demanding day for both of us, but we both enjoyed every minute and it culminated with an immense sense of accomplishment as we retired exhausted and prepared for the next day.
Thanksgiving 2012 is a wonderful memory. The day flowed as smoothly as good gravy. We enjoyed a beautiful day with family as we celebrated both Thanksgiving as well as my husband’s 50th birthday.

Thanksgiving of 2012 will remain in my memory as one of my favorites as I recall it as the year I made the decision to be clear. To be clear in what I needed for myself as well as from others. It was that simple; all I had to do was ask.