On today, it is not about the turkey- although we have a whole one this year because Ray has decided that he likes dark meat.
It is not about using the fine china and real silverware, although our table shines from the polishing of the children and the sense of history and family that comes from special occasion tableware.
It isn’t about the golden wine glasses that are filled with cream soda so that they appear lit from within
It isn’t about the 75 degree temperatures and sunshine that are the norm around here for November, but are such a treat from the 35 degrees we have experienced in other states.
It isn’t about the history of the holiday- for James grew up in Greece and I grew up in New Mexico, where the legends of the Pilgrims are thin- but the realities of family and place are thick.
It isn’t even about the pies, although they are the part that everyone is looking forward to the most
It is about the people around the table- and those we wish were at the table…
It’s about Ray showing off his toe trick of putting his pinkie toe under his other toes- just like his grandmother.
It’s about Elizabeth pulling out Christmas decorations and talking about the holiday with Mamamum and Dampa.
It’s about the phone calls to James’ mother- in a nursing home in Boston- and my mother, in an adobe in Santa Fe, and wishing they could be here. It’s about good wishes to my grandmothers and uncles in Texas, my father and stepmother in Arkansas, James’ cousins and Vicki in Ohio, and his aunts in Greece. It’s about the prayers to our dads- both dead at early ages. It’s about missing our families- scattered about, but very close in our thoughts and our hearts.
It’s about taking a cranberry-pear pie over to Drew’s house at 5:30 for Dessert Hour to celebrate friendships of children and grownups. It’s about making new old friends at my reunion, virtual very real friends through this blog, and feeling the solidity of friends who knew me when I was young and are part of my very fabric of my age.
It’s about making a difference- finishing my book, reaching my students, James finding his bliss in providing research to the university community, the children learning to deal with their challenges and beginning their search for their strengths. It’s about our family helping homeless families at Manna House tomorrow rather than shopping.
It’s about sleeping in, relaxing, enjoying the quiet time.
It’s about enjoying being domestic- not my strength normally, but I so enjoy a production. I cook, the children decorate and James cleans- we each have our role.
It’s about that this has been a year- a strengthening year- a year that builds you up as a person, as a family, to survive the darker years, the tougher years. The fact that it’s been a year where we can bend our heads with gratefulness and be glad that for the first time in our marriage- in the history of our family, there were no tragedies, no moves, no diagnoses- that it’s been an ordinary year.
An ordinariness that I took for granted in my younger years- before autism, before deaths, before Tourette’s, before losing jobs and losing our way. Before. Now… we celebrate that it’s been a year that is extraordinary in its ordinariness.
To all of you reading- to God- to my family- thank you.