Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving is tomorrow and Christmas is coming!

I hope you all have a very Happy Thanksgiving! I’m missing my mom this holiday and thinking about all the wonderful things that she would make. Many of the dishes and desserts that she made were only made twice a year – Thanksgiving and Christmas. She’d spend hours and hours in the kitchen baking banana bread, pumpkin bread, apple pies, pumpkin pies, pecan pie, lemon meringue pie, and chocolate pie – all from scratch. She’d also make Waldorf salad, Jell-O salad, dressing, green beans, green rice, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, gravy, dinner rolls, stuffed celery, and whatever else struck someone’s fancy. Once we got a bit older, we’d help out in the kitchen but Thanksgiving was one meal that she mostly liked to do without much help. Everything had to be just perfect and she always got it perfect. We're having dinner with Amy and Rex tomorrow and then with Keith and Lindsay on Friday. Last night, Amy and I made some pumpkin bread and an apple pie. Tonight, pumpkin pie and tomorrow we'll do a lemon pie before we put the turkey in. I like to make the dressing and she likes to make the green rice. She actually wants me to make some sweet potatoes so we bought a couple but I'm not sure how I'll fix them. She had some at a fancy restaurant that were more of a scalloped version and I've never done those, but I'll give it a whirl and see what happens. Either way, I'll like them. I hope you all enjoy your dinners - whenever you get to eat them.

Ron and I were talking about Christmas last night. He wanted to know what I wanted this year. I told him that I really couldn’t think of anything. That’s an honest answer. Christmas is not really about “things” for me – it’s about spending time with family and enjoying each other’s company. In all honesty, there was a time when the lack of a gift mattered to me. But that was before Ron’s health went downhill so badly, before he lost the ability to get out and do things for himself, before he lost the ability to work and to shop. Now I’m not even sure I want to put up any decorations. Part of me says yes; part of me says no. I hate the “un”-decorating.

I told him last night that all the years when I’d have nothing on Christmas morning – not even a card – those were the years when it mattered and when it hurt. He asked me how he could go about being forgiven and I said he already was. I’d go to KC with the kids and I’d see my siblings and their spouses sporting gifts from each other and, honestly, I was envious. My parents bought gifts for my two divorced sisters because they didn’t have spouses to buy for them. They didn’t realize that although I had a spouse, he didn’t buy for me. If I thought to get something for myself so I could say he bought it, I did (he hardly ever went to KC with me because he was usually on call at work). Some years he’d offer on Christmas Eve to go shopping. Seriously? I really wanted to go out on Christmas Eve to pick out my own gift so he could take care of his conscience? No thanks. I would rather do without so I mostly did.

There are very few pictures of me opening gifts at Christmas time because there were very few opportunities to take any pictures. There were a few years where he went shopping. Not many but I can remember the year I got a jewelry box and the year I got my first (and only, until Amy came home from the Navy) stocking. I told him that I nursed that hurt for a long time but I finally let it go and it no longer has any control over me. When he could drive, could shop, could “think” and didn’t – those were the years that it mattered. One year I had a melt-down and told him how upset I was about it. We were in Florida visiting his family. He’d gone to the store before we left to get his mom a gift and to get a battery converter for the truck so Keith could watch DVDs while we drove. I thought sure he was going to get me something. Nope. Not a thing – not even a card. I actually cried Christmas morning. That memory can still bring tears to my eyes but not because I’m still upset with him but because I still remember how badly my feelings were hurt then. Now, it’s not any big deal. (Since then, and before he lost the ability to drive, he would go out of his way to make sure he bought me a gift but because of the way he did it – insisting that he didn’t want me to get mad at him again – I told him that I’d just rather that he didn’t because I didn’t think he really understood what I was saying to him. It wasn’t the lack of a “gift” that upset me; it was the lack of the thought, the lack of effort, and the lack of putting himself into something for me. I didn’t want a “thing” but I wanted him to care enough to think, to put out the effort, not because he felt obligated but because he wanted to. There are those who say that it doesn’t matter, it’s the little things that count, one day out of the year – whether it be anniversary, Christmas, birthday, etc. – shouldn’t be the only day that you or your spouse show each other how much you care and put out effort for each other and they’d be absolutely correct. But those are the extra special days to help make up for all the days when living and just getting by and “life” getting in the way of your best laid plans made you take each other for granted. Those are days when it can help to remind each other just how much you really do care. )

I still like to buy things for others and I still like to surprise people with things that I’ve heard them say they’d like to have but I just don’t have any wishes for myself.

Maybe I’ve grown cynical and I don’t have any wishes because I know they won’t come true? Or, have I truly just grown up and it really no longer matters? Maybe it’s a little bit of both. I honestly don’t know.


Lois said...

As much as you have forgiven, the memory of hurt is still there, and that is ok to remember and verbalize. I remember a time or two when I was a little crazy, and I reached out to husband saying I needed him to come home to help me, I had small children and felt overwhelmed. I felt as though I was out of control. And he didn't. Work came first. He let me down, and I knew that I was on my own. We were in Vancouver, and I had no family near. I have forgiven him, but I do pull that forward sometimes. It doesn't mean I have forgotten.

Thanksgiving here is long past, and is not wrapped up with Christmas. I think I prefer it to be in early October when the leaves have just begun to change, and the days are still a little balmy.

Be well! Make something special to honour your mother, some favourite thing that you can take as your own now. I do French Torteirre for one old grandmother, and pumpkin pie for my mother...

Pat said...

First off, I hope you have a nice holiday. I know it's hard to celebrate when you just lost your mom. My sisters and I are really missing our mom this holiday season, especially when we baked together.

My husband is the same way when it comes to gifts. But he was brought up on a farm, in a large family, where birthdays weren't even acknowledged. On the other hand, in my family, birthdays were a big deal. I mean, at least there was cake and presents. They may not have been expensive presents, but presents nonetheless. Especially since my twin sister and I were born on my brother's birthday! Three birthdays in one day! Can you imagine? Anyway, Jim rarely, if ever acknowledges my birthday. Now, I realize his upbringing, but he knows MY upbringing. I would be happy with a card, and $5 bouquet of flowers. Hey, grab me a package of underwear or socks, ANYTHING that says he was thinking of me, right? But, uh, no.

We haven't exchanged Christmas presents for YEARS. He always says that we don't have the money. true, we don't have a lot of money, and I'd rather spend money on the kids and grandkids, but it would be nice to spend $50 on eachother, just so we can open some gifts. He couldn't care less. Bottom line, I don't think we can change our guys. We just have to look at the good things about them. Jim is kind and good man. He takes care of me. So, I guess if we want gifts, we go out and buy them ourselves and say, "LOOK WHAT YOU BOUGHT ME!"

Sorry - didn't mean to go on and on!

Kathy's Klothesline said...

It really is the thought that counts. Seems the older we get, the more forgiving we are and I am happy it is so! My Mom NEVER forgot or forgave a slight no matter how small or unintentional. She lived a miserable life in her eyes. In reality she had a husband who doted on her and gave her everything she wanted. Sad. Enjoy your family today!!

Donna B. said...

I agree....there are very few material things I desire anymore. I am in my "lighten the load" period. What I ask for is an all my kids coming to my sister's house Christmas Eve so I can see everyone.

Hugs to you and has been awhile.