The event that Americans commonly call the “First Thanksgiving” was celebrated to give thanks to God for guiding them safely to the New World.*
The Pilgrims landed and tried to make a go of this place. They had no idea what they were doing, but after a successful harvest, they were able to celebrate and express their gratitude. Well, a lot of the time, I don’t know what I’m doing either. And, as soon as Thanksgiving draws near, I often feel myself turning into a famous landmark known in many parts as the Biggest Ball of Twine. Instead of dreaming about warm roasted turkeys, scrumptious homemade stuffing, or thick and creamy pumpkin pie, all my eyes can see are calendars. Calendars, calendars everywhere. Calendars, calendars in my hair. They all read the same way: NO SCHOOL FROM NOVEMBER 21 THROUGH NOVEMBER 25. Highlighted, meaning, Maycee needs childcare.
Along with panicking about my daughter’s next school vacation (because I do not have vacation to spare), I find the Christmas songs, Christmas decor, and Christmas gifts made just perfectly for the person who needs to buy something for someone they do not know, set out on the shelves in August, waiting patiently for the season to arrive, totally begin to annoy me. It’s true. And, I’m not a Bah-Humbug, really, not deep down in my heart. But, I think this, CAN WE NOT JUST PLEASE GET THROUGH ONE HOLIDAY AT A TIME? CAN WE NOT REMEMBER WHAT THESE HOLIDAYS ARE TRULY FOR?
I told my boss today, as I was expressing some of this very well-meaning concern for the lightspeed flow of life that next year I think I will pass out candycanes to the trick-or-treaters and say, “Ho, ho, ho…Happy Halloween!”
Anxiety. It’s crept up on me, which is why I consulted Buddha as mentioned in my last post. This morning I dropped Maycee off at the Boys and Girls Club-not her favorite place to spend her vacation. But, safe and affordable nonetheless, and no choice on my part for this particular amount of time off. As I drove to work, I figured, no problem, she can make it through one more day of this, and then tomorrow, I lined up a super-duper fun playdate. Except, ummm, uh-oh, text message reads this: S–is sick vomiting and with fever. In a matter of minutes, said playdate where Maycee could liesurely hang out for the day at least at SOMEONE’S house-cancelled. The ensuing mad-dash to find a replacement playdate began. As I continued on to work, I frantically called my friends, I left pitiful, pleading messages. By 10:00 this morning a new playdate was secured. Score another one for Mom.
This stuff wears on me. It just does. And, so I have to continue to find gratitude…wherever I can. I have to persist in reminding myself this is not a big deal in the grand scheme of life. I have to remember that Thanksgiving comes first, and no matter how many silver sparkle Christmas trees line the aisles at Walmart, this is THANKSGIVING WEEK. A time to be even more cognizant of my blessings. A time to contemplate our settlers’ initial fears and struggles. I have to eat my chocolate pudding at lunchtime and slowly taste each bite to get in my few minutes of mindfulness and allow the details to come into perspective.
I didn’t do real well as the day pressed on. In fact, I ran out to get some much needed T.P. and paper towels for work this afternoon, and as I pulled into the parking place I couldn’t open the door. I sat, in my seat, and I cried some tears. No, not big gigantic sobby kinds, just little quiet kinds. The ones that say: I know it doesn’t help to dwell on, “I wish”. This isn’t what I want for my daughter, and yet, it’s the very best I can do. Allowing a few more tears to refresh my cheeks I settled in to finish the errand. I found the supplies, and as I walked through the market the soft plush fur of their holiday bears caught my eye. Christmas music was blaring obnoxiously through the speakers. I chuckled. I walked over looking at all of these bears. Each one saying, “Buy me.” And, I chose one despite myself…not for Maycee…for me. I named him “Nilly”, and his fur is the color of cookie dough. He rode shotgun as I headed back to work and took a nice, long deep breath. When I picked Maycee up from the B & G Club, she was smiling, and she said to me, “I hope when I have to go here during Christmas break I see some of my new friends again-I mean the new friends I made JUST at the Boys and Girls Club.” Wow. Such a spirit she has.
We were supposed to go visit my sister a few hours away for Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday. I was supposed to get up very early tomorrow, rush Maycee to her new playdate, and zoom the dogs and cat over to the kennel before heading to work. I was supposed to…but, this Thanksgiving I wanna stay home. It took a stern talking to from my mom to pursuade me it was okay-she even made me call her back to confirm the cancellation (smile). I wanna rest. I wanna have my own jammy time with my deserving girl. I wanna have a couple of days off without an agenda. I wanna cook turkey legs and eat in front of the TV, bow my head, and thank God for leading us safely to this New World, equipped with all of its challenges.
This Thanksgiving I wanna….
Now Readers, it’s your turn. Go on…feel free…it’s okay to admit it, fill in the blank even if to yourselves. And, as you prepare to join family and friends for this day devoted to gratitude be happy, and give a chuckle. Hmmmmm, do I hear Jingle Bells playing? Ho, Ho, Hoooooooooooo!