Thanksgiving this year was just one of those events in my life where I said, Yep…can’t do anything about it…just get through it. Poof…seems as soon as I released my attachment to what it should be, what it’s always been, and stopped ruminating…I began to find some peace, joy and gratitude!
Except for the young hen turkey instead of a Tom….and too much sage in the dressing and not really understanding how much less milk is needed for Yukon yellow mashed potatoes rather than russets, the food was excellent and the 5 ingredient corn casserole was the best one ever and I did not miss the green bean casserole AT ALL (possibly the first holiday in 64 years without it).
I went with a tongue in cheek comment from our youngest daughter that we could just zoom while we all ate our meals in our 3 little units….so we set the IPAD up on the table and everyone zoomed in for our meal…our family time clocks are all different but this way we get to enjoy each other 3 times in the day. he and I have saved dessert for the next daughter’s meal and then we will get dessert the second time for the second daughter’s meal. We did this recipe except put it in a graham cracker crust.
Easy peasy. And our two year old Rhoads rolls in the freezer didn’t rise appropriately for the occasion, I did find that the drawer under the oven was a great place for them to do their best. It gave me the idea that in the future this will be a perfect place to keep food warm as I prepare a meal.
So with gratitude, my friends, we hold you all in love and light as we hold each other up!
It hasn’t been that long ago…although definitely pre pandemic time….HE was telling a story about a dinner staple when he was growing up…his mother putting a canned peach slice on a plate topped with cottage cheese. I made the well known gesture of pointing to my throat meaning “gag me” because I was reliving the same memory. My mother often dressed the pineapple or pear slice up with a slice of banana along side the masterpiece with a maraschino cherry on top.
Many decades later, during this pandemic, I found a can of sliced pears in the pantry and just happened to have some AE brand cottage cheese in the fridge. I did it. What I tasted was my past….the comfort of my past…when I took my first spoonful I realized that if my past had a taste…this was it. I have never liked maraschino cherries…in fact, I have never understood why Restaurants find it necessary to top your huge ice cream delight with a little bitty cherry on top WITH A STEM attached.
Just one of those things I was thinking about while eating my bowl of pineapple chunks and cottage cheese on this rainy day…and because we are all sheltering in place and many of us alone today, this would be a good time to comment with what your past would taste like!
That would be Joy who is proudly in the Guinness Book of World Records…
We have been away from our “Home Town” for nearly 6 years. It seems to be the perfect amount of time needed for me to forget about the things that irritated me about small town living; but, enough time that I can embrace what delighted me.
Since we have been gone, old buildings on the square have been refurbished, new traffic lights down the main drag and the movie theater has been updated. The new theater owners have a pig named Joy who lives her life on display in a store front next to the theater.
Under the heading, “you can’t make this stuff up”, Joy appears to have an idyllic life. She does tricks for gawkers passing on the square. I only stayed around for her twirling trick so I didn’t witness anything else she does…
It’s just a precious snapshot of small town life. We stood in sprinkles at 35 degrees to watch Joy and the hometown parade which brings Santa to town following the courthouse lighting and tour of the trees on display at the courthouse…which includes a massive 3 story tree.
Welcome to my therapy session…With the exception of the boys-grand babies, every birthday that comes and goes, I feel a little lost….not because of everyone being a year older but birthday celebrations created by my mother are missing! I wish I could ask her why birthdays and holiday celebrations were so important to her and why she knocked herself out making everything special. Always a meal of favorite foods, a birthday cake and presents. When it came to him and the girls, I always felt she was stacking more work on me because I had to think and let her know, for each birthday, what I thought they would want the most! I, now, understand what that “burden” represented to me in our dysfunctional relationship! Was this the way she showed us love or was she playing out through us what she missed out on as a child because her mother died when she was still a child? As the matriarch of our family, have I dropped the ball? After my mother died and my girls moved around, I stopped feeling the need to make everyone’s birthday a national family holiday….does anyone else miss it? This is making me tear up and that’s how I know I must recognize the memories for what they are which is a destructive thought pattern of the past lubed up with feelings and emotions that are in the past. And the only reason they are bothering me today is because I’m not centered and I’m allowing these thoughts and emotions to appear as a reality now instead of living right here, right now…
I’m so thankful to my mentors….and it takes a chorus of them….to teach me….or perhaps learn with me…how to live our best life today…. This post all happened because I wished the husband Happy Birthday this morning! No celebration today because our Des Moines kids drove down yesterday to surprise him and we all did dinner together at his restaurant choice. It was fun! There was love! In my heart I realize that’s all that is important!
We spent New Year’s Eve with JJJJ tonight. After a great meal, we played some games then turned on CNN to watch Andy Cohen and Anderson Cooper bring in the New Year in New York. Jenny and Justin had talked to Jax about what we were going to watch and what it meant….conceptually, I don’t know what he understood…but watching his little face when the ball dropped brought me so much joy. It was The wonder on his face as he was mesmerized by what he was watching on TV and when we all said Happy New Year and the joy when his dad gave him a hug and held him while singing New York, New York and finally the hug he gave grandma and papa when we left….the hug reserved for only special times….wonder…“a feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable.”
The experience filled me with love and hope for my grandchildren and for all of us in 2018!
…..and since then, his pies have been coveted by the family for the pumpkin pie holidays. It was simply the difference between evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk. This year he added to the pie count with a butterscotch with meringue.
Delicious…and I’m not terribly embarrassed to say I ate one full size slice of each in one sitting.
We had the family for Christmas Eve Day Bunch and gift opening on Sunday and the second head cold of the month finally wore me down Sunday night so I didn’t go to the Brown/Faircloth/Callaghan Dinner on Christmas Day and while it just seems like a total bummer to be alone on Christmas, it was a little lonely with a slice of depressing, but doable. I ate brunch leftovers and watched movies for several hours. Remembering with gratitude all of the Christmases before helped me to remain positive seasoned with thankfulness!
Just seems like a strange thing to feel in light of past Christmases when actually serious things have happened. Interestingly, I haven’t had my one wrenching Christmas cry this year, rather it has been chopped up between a range of emotions that have made the tears slip from my eyes from pure utter delight to all encompassing rage. I was actually sitting on the floor earlier in the week and thought…oh holy crap…maybe I’m just old and it has caught up to me? Then, I’m really not THAT old.
Fast forward to this morning, when I broke down looking at historical pictures of a shopping mall in the town I lived in for 35 years that had closed down in 1994 and the tears started flowing. This is not normal.
…..and then it hit me. This is the first holiday season in 16 years that I haven’t had anti-depressants numbing me. I’m feeling usual holiday cheer with just a little more delight, I’m feeling nostalgic now in my heart rather than just my head, my sorrow of the absence of past friends and family has hurt me in little bursts rather than all at once producing that sobbing Christmas cry.
I don’t know how or why this realization has given me peace of mind but Understanding seems to have made it reasonable and doable.
I think that once there is a crack in my expectations and therefore personal choices, the liquid drips out until I have a steady flow before other people’s judgements and opinions start jamming up the mess again! I have a steady flow right now!
I have welcomed Inputs and experiences this past week putting aside my prior expectations and preconceived beliefs and came away with peace of mind and understanding. Who knew that just opening my heart, receiving what felt good and blocking as unimportant the experiences that bring me angst, could have a profound affect on my outlook 🙄!
We all have choices…the difference for me is going to be the ability to move forward putting into action what is right for me and closing off the opinions and rules of others.