Monday, November 25, 2013
In The Pursuit of Happiness: On family Thanksgivings
My mother is definitely not one of these people. On day one of our five-day Thanksgiving weekend a few years ago, her bellowing yawn and earth-shattering sneeze roused me from my near-perfect sleep. “Look at this house,” she scoffed like Supernanny. “We have to clean it from top to bottom. Now."
Sadly, a part of me knew this was coming. This is how our family has spent the holiday season for the last few years. Scrubbing. Sweeping. Sorting. Sanitizing. I couldn't do it again that year. I just didn't have it in me. Maybe my mother's a stronger person than I am, but the thumping of the washing machine hurt my ears, the smell of Pine-Sol made me dizzy and the sight of my mother's armor -- a cleaning cloth and a smorgasbord of mops -- brought tears to my eyes. “I need to finish my newspaper column,” I told her as I made my escape to the computer. “What are you writing about for Thanksgiving? You have to,” she demanded. “If you write a column about being thankful, you can get out of cleaning.” Truthfully, I hadn't planned on writing about Turkey Day. But if it meant I'd be cleaning-free... My savior. Finally. I'll take it. But I couldn't help but wonder: Is it the here-and-now I'm thankful for, or am I more grateful of the past, those days of yore that give me something to smile about today despite the rough and tough road my family's traveled? Can we ever truly recapture the Thanksgivings our younger selves lived for?
It's an innocent notion, I know, but I pictured us sitting around that same television in 20 years, eating the same breakfast and watching the same floats, well, float by. See, that was all I ever really needed. Those three things. School. Friends. Family. They were my lifelines. But now, our lives seem to move in reverse instead of forward these days. We're constantly going in overdrive. We don't usually get a little piece of time to stop and sit and reflect. This year, I'm going to try to relax over Thanksgiving weekend, just like I did when I was a kid. And who knows...maybe I can even convince my mom to do the same. Any suggestions, friends? xoxo
[Photos via We Heart It]