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Archive for November, 2013

In Search of Thanksgiving Gratitude

It always seems like the holiday is a long way off, then all of a sudden, there it is. Making decisions whether or not to cook or let someone else do the cooking can be tricky. Some years ago, I would cook Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner for between 17 to 20 people and enjoyed every minute of it. That’s how I showed them my love. As children grew and had their own families, I learned to make adjustments in my meals. Frozen lasagna, cooked and set out with vegetable, cracker & cheese trays along with plenty of cookies became the new norm and easier on me. It went from everyone sitting down at the extra-long table to setting up a buffet in the kitchen for a grab a bite, visit, and then go on to the next family. I could share them with others.

Bubbles is staying at my son's house for a while. How can it be Thanksgiving and not be grateful for all good dogs.

Bubbles is staying at my son’s house for awhile. How can it be Thanksgiving and not be grateful for all good dogs.

When we moved away, we made more changes to how we did holidays. Now that I live alone and my circle of family and friends has become even smaller, I’ve adapted once again. This year my daughter will drive us to her cousin’s very small house so we can share Thanksgiving with her four daughters, her mother and her significant other’s family. The place will be busting at the seams but the gathering of people who love each other outweighs any discomfort. For me, the hardest part is coming home in the dark. I have to keep my eyes closed as the lights and movement can make me quite nauseous. I’ve decided to take some wine to see if that helps keep my eyes closed. I’m an awful passenger seat driver in the daylight.

Thanksgiving is a special day to remember things you are grateful for. How many of you are grateful for the fact that you have such abundance that dieting is often a necessary part of your life. A lot of the world is looking for food, I have more than enough and choose to eat sparingly most of the time anyway. Yes, we donate to the less fortunate and I’m grateful I can do that as well.

For me, this holiday is about seeing people we don’t always have close by. My sister-in-law (sister-at-heart) has flown in from Missouri to spend both holidays with her daughter and granddaughters. Even after her brother and I divorced, we were still sisters. I’m grateful for a family that loves me even when they could choose to not.

Teaching my daughter to use the machine. Gifts are being made.

Teaching my daughter to use the machine. Gifts are being made.

There is no shortage of gratitude in my daily life. I write them in the morning and again at night. Instead of looking at all the things that present a challenge to me, (fixed income, health challenges, way too much solitude) I have so much more for which to be grateful.

On Monday, I had to change planes in San Jose, CA with a bit of time between flights. Wandering around for some exercise, I went back to the same gate I got off the plane at. It was time for my flight to leave and I didn’t understand why they weren’t calling for boarding. At the very last-minute, I heard a whisper in my head to check my boarding pass. I was at the wrong gate. A quick jog allowed me to be the very last passenger on my flight, but I didn’t miss it. I was oh so grateful.

I'm grateful my niece can make me look human again.

I’m grateful my niece can make me look human again.

Tomorrow I will be grateful for a noisy crowded house with plenty to eat and a daughter that is willing to get me back and forth. Each year the celebrations are different from the last. I’m grateful for adaptability. Thanksgiving comes every day that I allow it. How are you showing your gratitude for what is on this day of remembrance?

Happy, happy Thanksgiving everyone.
From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

In Search of My Oars

I have been absent for a while. I kind of fell out of the boat and was looking for the way to get grounded. My oars seemed to be missing so the paddling was a bit difficult. I think it started at Halloween and then the time change tossed my rhythm totally off kilter. So I decided to just wait it out and see where I landed…or not.

I’m visiting my grown son this weekend for his 46th birthday. I was obviously a child when he was born. There are so many wonderful memories of him as a child and more as an adult. I’ve been blessed to be his mother. (insert crooked smile here).

I just finished reading Texana’s Kitchen post on “How to be thankful for boys.” Her tales about her boys required a tissue or two for the memories it brought up. This woman can write, so please take a few moments for some belly laughs and a tear drop or two. She reminded me of the escapades our children venture on.

Age 2 at friends home in Taiwan

Age 2 at friends home in Taiwan

The day my son passed drivers education in high school, he forgot how to ride a bike. Ambling in the door with a very bad case of road rash and a swollen mouth, he held his closed hand out until I put mine out to receive what was in it. He handed me his front teeth. I looked at him and quietly asked if he needed to see the dentist or the doctor first. I needed to know if his mouth took the brunt or if there could be a head injury involved. We opted for the dentist. Raising a boy for me was easier than a girl in spite of the boy type activities that brought the usual injuries. My daughter was the one that created situations that made my heart stop beating for a moment or two but that’s another story. The fact that he almost didn’t survive his birth made me appreciate every day I’ve had and will have with him.

His first 10 days. Then they let me hold him.

His first 10 days. Then they let me hold him.

I was taught gratitude very early in the game of parenthood. Letting go of control was also a big lesson. We are NEVER really in control. I knew he was kissed by Angels on his birthday as kindness and caring ooze from every fiber of his being. We won’t be spending Thanksgiving together but I am so grateful for each of his birthdays that I was privileged to spend with him. Now that I’ve had my son fix, I feel like I’ve found my oars again and can aim for the land of creativity once again. This will hold me till he comes to spend Christmas with his sister and I.

Have you ever lost your oars and how did you find them? Did you find girls or boys to be more fun or challenging to raise? I know I wouldn’t part with either.

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself