During my thirteen-year tenure as Lady of The Other Such Manor, I have but twice had The Turkey Honors. Both occasions ended successfully enough (based on incident- and illness-freeness, and disregarding the length of time since I was last invited to take on The Bird).

And yet it is that with those two meager turkey experiences behind me (like, say, five and nine years behind me), I spontaneously decided I am now qualified to serve a greater audience than the people bound to me by blood and marriage: the local mommy consortium known as S.M.I.L.E.

Have you heard of them, these SMILErs? They’re a diverse group of 50-or-so mothers: some work full-time, some stay home full-time, many are somewhere in-between; some have toddlers, some have teenagers, some have both; some are hyper-organized, some are interior decorating forces, some are culinary maestros . . . oh sweet MarthaStew, I am none of those last three. Whatever was I thinking?

Breathe. It’s just a bird, just some women. Several dozen women and many pounds of raw bird, but breathe.

If the practice of law taught me anything, it is this: I am not the best woman for The SMILE 2010 Turkey Task. Wait. No. The law is silent on my turkey credentials. (Disclaimer: foregoing assertion is deemed reliable only as of the end of the 81st Regular Session of the Texas Legislature.) Client Expectation Management. Yes, that’s what legal practice taught me.

Thus began the e-mail campaign to prepare us all for The Dinner-party Disappointment Debacle. First: an inquiry about where to find a fresh (i.e., plucked-but-not-frozen) turkey in the first week of November. Alas, several suggestions returned, none of them including “wish I could make it, but….” These ladies underestimate the sincerity of my ineptitude.

The second e-mail bore a gentle suggestion that anyone uncertain about what to bring as their potluck contribution might want to consider ALTERNATIVE MEAT DISH. Still, more affirmative RSVPs. An undeterrable lot are they.

The mission of SMILE being one of support, encouragement and positive-mindedness, I should have known these women intend to see me through—whether it’s the horror of reaching inside a cold, dead bird to remove its giblets or the comparative delightfulness that is life with a toddler, I’m in good, unshakeable company. (Also: rumor is there’s a backup turkey.) (Also: I might have started that rumor. Which in hindsight might not be as helpful as it seemed when I was in the throes of poultry-panic.) (Sidenote: are you a mother in search of an uplifting support network? Come join us! And if you’d like to swing by Tuesday morning and degibletize this bird for me, you just let me know.)

And so, for standing by me during the (in)gloriousnesses of motherhood, I now diligently prepare to give to them: The Bird. And hope like crazy that it ends successfully enough. (Which, failing all else, we’re going to define as my name and “turkey” not appearing on anything before the soon-to-convene 82nd Legislative Session.)

Shelby Slawson, attorney turned mommy turned writer on a quest for trophy wifehood, authors the blog “Other Such” at www.othersuch.net. She is also a member of the E-T's community columnists and can be reached at shelby@othersuch.net.