Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Celebration Season

It’s been a while since I posted – my first since leaving BlissTree. It’s been crazy around here. We launched the holiday season as we have for the past six years – with Truman’s birthday party (or birthday, whichever comes first). This celebration of sorts continues for a month … longer, really. Until New Year’s Day. And I am so eager at that point to tear down this messy garland and pick the ornaments off the floor. (I can thank my cats for that this year. Previous years it was partially Truman’s fault.) But we’re halfway through the celebration season and other than suffering a financial blow due to an unexpected four-figure car repair, I’m in great spirits.

I kicked off the celebration season by wallowing in a little pathetic self-pity. My Memphis family was enjoying Thanksgiving together, no doubt spending the evening eating a lavish meal, drinking bottomless glasses of wine, talking loudly about current events and how there is some hope for the miserable economy. Instead, I spent the holiday hosting my husband’s family. They are dear, refined people, and while I love them deeply, we’re just a small group and our midday meal isn’t littered with off-color jokes and talks about how the Republicans are ruining our great country.

And my mother is gone. Dead 10 years now, and I like to throw in some jabs to my already bruised ego by kicking around thoughts of what the holidays would be like if she were still around. I can’t call Anni, my father’s wife, a stepmother. She entered my life when I was too old to need a surrogate one. But she has been a lifesaver to my father, my family. And loves my son as if he were her own. That’s priceless.

So, it was Thanksgiving day and I was wallowing around in that self-pity crap and I had this epiphany. I realized one day Truman would be in college or beyond, and he will call (or text?) and say he will be spending the holidays with his girlfriend or whatever. I’m telling this to my mother-in-law as the turkey I undercooked was back in the oven. I said, “And you know what? It’ll be OK.” She said, “No, it won’t.” I said, “Yes, it will. Because, you know what Rick and I will do? We’ll go to New Orleans. We’ll spend the holiday there. And we’ll look back on days like this when Truman was a kid and we were all together and we’ll remember how special this time is.” And I meant it with such a fever that I swear I almost ran to Google “Thanksgiving in New Orleans” to find the best places to dine and stay. But that can wait. Thing is, I don’t want to spend my entire holidays wishing for what is gone and will no longer be. I want to appreciate the here and now.

And so, this Thanksgiving day the six of us – my family and my husband’s – lined up at the table, and I wasn’t sad for what I was missing out on up in Memphis. (OK, maybe a little jealous.) And I sent a little message to my Mom, sort of a “Thanks for teaching me to love the holidays,” because I must have gotten it from someone. And when everyone went to bed, I grabbed my laptop and Googled “New Orleans.”

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