A new month

Well, it's December 1 and it is clear that I did not make a post a day in November. But I did manage to make 20 of them, altogether, and that is quite a bit for me. So it served the purpose of showing me I can post more often and I shall endeavor to try to continue. And next year, maybe I will achieve the target.

I have been reflecting a lot on holidays and the discrepancy between fantasy and reality as I consider how I would like to have Thanksgiving in the future. I should say at the outset that Thanksgiving has never been my favorite holiday despite my connection to its origins. For me it seems like a mountain of work to make a meal which is soon gone. And I am not the world's biggest fan of turkey -- though I must say our organic free range bird was the very best tasting one I have ever had.

When I was growing up, my father was in the Army and we were usually living too far away to have holidays with extended family. My brothers are much older than I and were off on their own from the time I was 7. One year, when I was 8 and we were stationed at Ft. Knox, I got the measles. What I remember most about that year is that we didn't get to eat in the mess hall with all the soldiers -- well, that and the fact that I threw up at dinner. So I grew up with wonderful fantasies of the Norman Rockwell kind of holidays with family and friends gathered together around the table -- the whole works. I thought that when I married and had children that was what we would develop.

But I failed to reckon with reality -- like divorce. The fantasy persisted but the mechanics of making it real became even more difficult. When I moved back to Maine a couple of years ago, having been in Michigan for 4 years, I guess I believed my kids and whatever significant others they had would come here for Thanksgiving and that we would figure out a way to juggle all the obligations they had at Christmas so that everyone could be satisfied.

This year, with just my husband and son here, I had a chance to really look at what I wanted. And I discovered that my fantasy holiday is not really it. We had a lovely day last Thursday and a terrific meal. My son brought a friend of his, a last minute addition and it was delightful to be able to include him without any effort. After they left and the leftovers were put away, I began to realize that my childhood fantasy was just that, a part of my childhood, an outgrowth of wishes for connections I never was able to develop. But that it doesn't have have a whole lot to do with my adult life.

I remember early in my first marriage wanting to be able to stay home for the holidays, to have a chance to develop our own traditions. My in-laws and my parents were welcome to come, but I wanted it to be our time with our children in our home. I know now that my mother and mother-in-law probably had their own fantasies about gathering their children around the table for holidays, fantasies that they did not see fulfilled. I want my daughter and her husband to find their traditions and for my son and whoever he eventually marries likewise to find their own. Their fantasies won't be the same as mine. 

So for a few years, it will all be in flux as they and my husband and I shift into new variations on the holidays. This growing up thing just never ends.

I finished Leda's Dream -- I will post pictures later today.

It is very cold here today and we have a snow storm on the way for Monday.

© Cheryl Fuller, 2007. All  rights reserved.