Friday, November 24, 2006

Thanksgiving & Memories of rituals past

How was your Thanksgiving?

It was quiet at my place. Sometimes it's like that when you're single. The brightest spot in the day was when I called and talked to Mom. We spent almost 40 minutes on the phone together. It was one of those good conversations that you really enjoy having. That made it special. It also brought back memories.

Mom brought me up to be an optimist. When I was a child, we always looked for the positive in things. Because she was so optimistic then, we coined the label of being "pollyannas" for ourselves. Life has a way of beating that out of you and these days, when I talk to Mom, she often finds more things to worry about than to be thankful for. She worries because I am worried. I love her and want to be able to share with her the hopes I have, which I of course worry about because I haven't achieved them yet. When that happens, it means she won't sleep well that night and I will have fretted because she worried. Right now part of me is wondering if expressing things positively so that your parents don't worry is part of growing up and cutting the apron strings. The child in me is reluctant to hide anything from my parent but the grownup in me wants to help Mom be happy with my life. I guess it is time to start sacrificing the childhood image for love of my mother.

My Thanksgiving meal was nothing to brag about. I baked some chicken but ended up eating something else because I was hungry by the time it was half cooked. The bright spot in dining came from the cookies I baked. They were chocolate, chocolate chip. Enjoying them with a glass of milk brought back warm memories of afternoon snacks with my mom and grandmother. I managed not to eat them all and can have the chicken today. (g)

The rest of the day was spent doing laundry, cleaning up the kitchen, and watching a little TV. I wrote to and heard back from a few people online. Most notably my friend, Susan, but also others from various places I've lived. One friend sent me a lovely powerpoint about the worth of women. I'll have to figure out who I want to share it with.

When I got into bed I read for a bit. A very short bit as I got drowsy pretty quickly. I have two books open on the spare pillow in my bed (my stash place for books in progress). One of them is Storm Thief by Chris Wooding. That's the one I read last night. The other is Sex With Kings by Eleanor Herman. I'm working my way through each of them a few pages at a time. So there you have it, my Thanksgiving day. Nice and quiet!

Thanksgiving hasn't always been that way. I remember, with fondness, childhood Thanksgivings when the whole family gathered around my grandmother's table. Even my uncle and his family, who lived in another state, would be there. I'd like to say we had friends in, but my family never did that. Friends I have now, from time to time, invite me to dine with them on Thanksgiving and I always appreciate it. I guess the question of why my family never did that is something I should ask my mom. Part of the answer may have to do with the fact that most of our neighbors were comfortably set and didn't need to be invited over. They would drop by on Christmas day sometimes if they had a gift to give but Thanksgiving was a day for family.

The only memory that comes close to those holidays is the day Granddad would go hunting, the opening day of the annual White Wing Season. We always had a family feast that evening. My granddad was a good shot. My sister, Grandmother, and I would go along with him on his outing. Grandmother was there to watch us kids. My sister and I were there to play bird dog for Granddad. His pouch would be full when we went home. The four of us would then sit in the backyard around a huge galvanized washtub plucking the feathers off of all those doves. Grandmother took care of the rest of the cleaning ritual and the family would show up to help with the preparations. My favorite part of the bird was the heart so Grandmother would set that aside as a special treat. When everything was ready we would all sit down at the big table to eat. I still have that dining table and chairs. Grandmother gave them to me as a gift when she decided to move to a nursing home shortly after Granddad died. It holds all the memories of dinners past, sewing lessons, and getting homework done. When I sit at it I feel connected to them in a way that nothing else could match.

Those memories of family gatherings are the spiritual part of the holidays for me. They're what make them special, our family's ritual of being family. Thank God for them and for the hope of being able to recreate those rituals and build memories of my own someday. May all your holidays be so blessed!


jsd said...

Oh...fresh baked chocalte chip cookies and milk - to die for :-)

I'm glad you and your Mom had a good conversation. When I think about my own kids and my hopes about the kind of people I hope they grow into...even when they're 30 and I'm 60, they'll still be my children - just older.

Lee said...

Hi, JSD! That is probably how my mom thinks too. She often doesn't sleep well. She also has high blood pressure and stress aggravates that so I want her worrying less. So does my dad. She gets confused when she doesn't get enough sleep and with all the health problems she has had recently we are all concerned. She is wonderfully clever and creative when she is feeling up to speed.

Please add Mom and her health to your prayers?