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Thanksgiving- the embarrassing bounty of it

 

I’ll never forget. Last year heading out for my holiday food shopping, there was a man on the corner holding a cardboard sign, it read, “hungry, I would love leftovers.”

It broke my heart. I was heading off to Whole Foods for some fancy vegan somethingorother and probably some organic wine and a freaking pear tart and this man is hoping for a plate of leftovers.

I ate my dinner that Thanksgiving thinking of him and if I could just bring him a plate. But I didn’t.

It was logistically impossible that day anyway.

But I always felt like I didn’t do enough. Like I chickened out.

I do a lot mind you. Well, I’m charitable anyway. I sponsor a woman in a developing country to give her work skills and job support for her family. I give to my church, I give to my PTSA, I give to my food banks and clothing banks. I write checks all the time.

But I always feel like it’s never enough. Because I know there’s still people out there that are hungry. That are cold.

I was reading magazines at the dentist’s and doctor’s offices this week while waiting for the kids at their appointments. All the issues have Thanksgiving recipes, table settings, center piece displays, pictures of pie. It’s so enticing.

I couldn’t help but think we are such a funny country to make such a huge deal over one meal. Sure other countries have celebrations and the food is paramount to the gathering, but Thanksgiving is all ABOUT THE MEAL! It really is truly. I mean right? The pilgrims are celebrating their harvest. And no, I’m not going into the typhus blankets they gave the Native Americans. Or how about the fact that most Native Americans now living on reservations couldn’t even afford a Thanksgiving dinner? Okay…. another day we’ll talk about that.

Reading Facebook statuses talk about the days ahead of preparations. The thawing the turkey, the making stock from the turkey parts. It takes DAYS. Pinterest is loaded with stuffing recipes. Stuffed.

I love food. I love eating. I love good food. The kind Martha or Julia would cook. My mom kicks ass at these holiday meals. She browns the stock, she makes the dressing, she brines the bird, she makes the richest darkest gravy you can get from a fowl. It’s amazing. Even the freaking green bean casserole out of a can is delicious. She is magic. Well, she’ll tell you it’s not magic. It’s hours of laborous (sp?) prep.

I tell her if we ate toast with popcorn on it like Charlie Brown, I’d be happy. And it’s true. Because we have an embarrassment of riches.

What is my point? Well, my point is- if you think you’ve not done enough, then go out there and do more.

There is always someone hungry, someone lonely, or someone cold. I won’t ever be content until I’ve reached out to as many as I can.

My friend Sam is matching those who need something with those that can give something. If you can reach out to a family with a grocery card or some gas money, please let Sam know by going to her page,  here.

This year I haven’t seen that man again with the sign. But if I do, I’m bringing him something.

And I pray you always have enough. Spread the love my friends.

Namaste.

 

I’m thankful for vaginas. My kids are too.

So last year when we gathered around the table for Thanksgiving at my parent’s house, Owen did a tear-filled thankful sharing that made my heart burst with gladness. I wrote about it here. It’s pretty damn special.

Well, this year, I got choked up at the dinner table again, but it was my mom talking about my dad and how very grateful we are that all went well last week with his procedure. You can read about THAT here.

I was really hoping for another zinger from my Boy. You know one that REALLY pulled on the heart strings. I mean, I had already had 2 glasses of wine, so I was pretty well greased for some sappy stuff to bring me to tears.

His turn comes. He’s sitting next to me. I’m waiting in anticipation. This is going to be good, I’m thinking in my head, I’m putting this in my journal.
He says, “I’m thankful for my mom.” He touches me on the shoulder…. wait for it….. here it comes….”I’m thankful that she pooped me out.”

Hmmm. That’s not what I was expecting. What? I pooped you out? That’s the best you got?  Well?

So then Emma chimes in, “It wasn’t her butt, it was her VAGINA.”

To this, I think I groan. Loudly. And lay my head in my plate of mashed potatoes. Thank goodness, my father, who is sitting right next to Emma, is pretty much deaf. So he doesn’t hear any of this. And he’s chewing his food, so that probably drowns out some of what we are saying.

My mother let’s out a howl of laughter. James rolls his eyes, like, “who are these people?”

My father chimes in, “what’s so funny?”

To which my mother responds, “Oh nothing, we’re just having some gyno conversation.”
We continue on.

There were no more references to either bodily functions or gyno occurrences. So I had some more wine.

I’m so grateful for pooping you out Owen, and you too Emma! And more grateful you came out of my vagina like you were supposed to.

My cup runneth over, and my heart melteth, and my eyes teareth..

Often at Thanksgiving it’s typical to take turns around the table and share your gratitude. We Gallaghers aren’t usually mushy or gushy at mealtimes.

At my parent’s for Thanksgiving we did the sharing around the table this year. We aren’t mushy or gushy as Tippers either, so I had no idea how mushy and gushy it would get. My heart was a little puddle at the bottom of my rib cage, it just melted by the end of it.

The day after Thanksgiving is always at my parent’s house. It was just my folks, my sister Leslie and the four of us. James went first with his sharing. His gratitude list was long and I was very glad that I was on it.  I was surprised he didn’t mention my fabulous ability to be right all the time, but he did say I was a good mom. He didn’t mention my housekeeping abilities, which is good since he probably isn’t thankful for that since it’s not very good. And I’m not sure why he didn’t thank me for all the times I save him money with the shopping I do. When something is an extra 50% off, it’s like they are paying me to buy it.

Everyone had the usual list of thanks for good health, family, home, food, etc…

This was Owen’s turn:

“I’m thankful for this great country. I get freedoms in my country. I’m happy to be part of this family…(pause…then he locks eyes with me, tears well in his eyes) I’m thankful for my mom and I just love…

…he  rubs his eyes because they are tearing up, he can’t even finish his sentence, he’s choking up. Then tears well in MY eyes. He chokes out, “I’m so happy…”

At this time, everyone at the table has tears rolling down their cheeks. Emma looks at me and mouths, “aww.”  We had several minutes of wiping tears and trying to say how thankful we are but had a hard time speaking because we were so emotional.  We dried our eyes and finished our sharing. Of course I gave him hugs and kisses and tried not to embarrass him. What I wanted to do was squeeze him and smother him and tell him he’s the best boy in the whole entire world, (no offense Emma, but he’s totally scoring)  but that would’ve made him feel self conscious and would ruin the moment. So I played it cool and whispered in his ear how happy I am too.

Later when we were leaving at the end of the night, he said, “Mom, I have never had the happy cry before until tonight. Now I know what it is.”

I know the parent/child relationship isn’t always idyllic. Ten years from now he might crash the car and walk away unscathed, only for me to strangle him. Or maybe he’ll drop out of one of his college classes. Who knows. Times change.

But this Thanksgiving, I was the luckiest mom in the whole world, and for that, I am most grateful.