Photo: Yeaaaah…. there is nothing better than waking up at 8:30, rolling out of bed, having awesome coffee and popping some cinnamon rolls in the oven. Not just cinnamon rolls… cinnamon rolls made with Kerrygold or, as we call it, “the good butter.” Unbelievably awesome, totally best way to start Thanksgiving!
My neighbor came over at 10:30 yesterday morning all dressed proper and ready to go. We were… in our pajamas… shameless, really. Thanksgiving is about the four of us, the Macy’s Parade, awesome duck and no cares. Certainly no formal clothes. Thanksgiving is absolutely for pajamas.
“We were wondering if you would join us for dinner. We’d really love to have you,” my neighbor offered.
Welp, there went that.
We love our neighbors. These first years of homeownership would have been impossible without them. We had to say yes…
It was our first time having Thanksgiving with other people since Major was born. We made our duck, I made Parker House rolls for the occasion (I was going to do that anyway), we made the Chinese-style pancakes and cut up scallions and traversed the lawn between our place and theirs.
The mansion we sat in was built sometime soon after the Revolutionary war and has been standing ever since (despite fires, blizzards, at least 2 hurricanes, and all sorts of other calamities). I couldn’t help but think about all the Thanksgivings it has witnessed. I wonder how many times a child had thrown-up at the table in the middle of the festivities (thanks, Major!) or simply decided to hold out until dessert after barely nibbling at the stuff on his plate (thanks, Minor!). Of course, I wondered how many times had that exquisite dining room had played host to intense political discussion. Even among friends, all on the same team, there was much disagreement about the details, the direction we should take as individuals and as a group.
I won’t get into it here. I feel like I’ve written enough about this. My Quiet Thoughts, however, are honed in on how warming it was to sit at that table and be welcome. Thanksgiving has always been that annoying holiday to get out of the way before the pleasure of going home and enjoying Christmas in Maryland with family. Especially since moving here to Massachusetts, being here for Thanksgiving meant retreating to the only family The Husband and I have up here: each other, and now the boys. We’re a little island of sanity in an ocean of crazy New Englanders, we’ve told ourselves. Ten years of the two of us against the world. Er.. region…
This was our tenth Massachusetts Thanksgiving and we spent it with family. We spent it at another table, with people who we love and care about, we enjoyed ourselves and our children were happy. It was a special day, a delightful surprise. A much-needed break from the troubles that have followed us for months and months.
There were other tables we could have pulled up to yesterday, as well. Church friends, old colleagues, new friends made from school… we have grown a network of people, some becoming very close and dear, who have made this place just as home as Maryland. No longer do we feel perilously far away from the people who love us. Suddenly we have people to call upon, doors that are always open to us, people we look forward to seeing and who we trust implicitly. I can’t tell you the when or how of this happening. I’m deeply grateful, nonetheless.
Walking back across the lawns in the dark, I thanked my neighbor again and again. “What a special treat,” I said, sincerely. “That was certainly a wonderful way to spend the day.”
“Well, hopefully we can make a tradition of this,” she offered.
I chuckled, half hoping she was kidding. Introversion immediately kicked in, the dread of giving up what used to be an easy day of good food bubbling up within. But then my heart warmed. What a lovely thought, spending the holiday with our Northern family again next year. My oh my, how we grow and change, Dear Reader!
So, I can only guess what you’re thinking: “You got that good camera, so… where are the photos of the feast!?”
Well, my neighbor derailed all of my awesome plans. I was going to take pictures of the step-by-step and write out a recipe for a new page on the blog. It was going to be glorious! Oh well, there will be plenty of opportunities to do that in the future. My apologies. Won’t you please accept this other awesome photo of baked goodness?
This Friday after Thanksgiving, I give thanks for you and your continued readership. Thank you for choosing my blog, thank you for your comments and your care, thank you to the many of you who answered my 5 quick survey questions. Because of you, I feel confident enough to share and am always looking forward to telling my next story. As always, I have wishes for you. First, I wish you rest. Lots of it. At least one morning of being able to sleep until you don’t want to anymore. I wish you the glorious luxury of being able to be lazy, taking the time you need to recuperate as you need to. Feed that rest with leftovers sumptuously reimagined. While you’re at it, I wish you a most excellent book to fall into for a few days. It’s ok to take the time to escape, to recharge. When you’re ready, resurface and take up the fight again. Be sure to get in touch with familiar voices, taking the time to say hello and tell someone you love them. As many of us begin the mad dash to fill up boxes and bags with trinkets and do-dads, I ask you: what’s one irreplicable gift you can give this holiday season? Is there something you can create, with your presence, your hands, your expertise, that would brighten someone’s holiday this year? I wish you the time to think about that, warm and cozy, staring up at the milky November sky.
I only ask because, as I remind you every week: you are loved and admired, and what you do in this world matters. You bring joy to someone in this world in a way that no one else can. Don’t forget that. Especially right now.
Until Monday, Dear Reader, stay warm and take care.