One of my deepest desires has been to have a family. When I say that, I don't mean I have always had some crazy desire to be a mom. I haven't. I am a mom now, and I wouldn't trade that for the world, and I fully am willing to have more kids in the future if I am ever married. But that isn't what I meant when I said that first statement. That's for another blog though. My family of origin is small and riddled with history. As I grew up and went off on my own, I struck my own way in life with a pretty fierce strain of stubborn independence and will. I was perfectly happy with that.
And then, I became a mom.
Everything I wanted came to a head in regards to family, tradition, and stability centered around Christ. I can confidently say, that we have this now. I have worked to instill this in our home and lives. Because I do not come with traditions of my own, I sought them out madly. I read peoples blogs, Googled ideas, asked people for their stories, and more. I still do these things, but the result of all this research is that over the past few years of my son's young life, we have put the ideas I came up with into action. Finally, we have traditions that are all new to our family. Every holiday, we do something for the most part. I could write a whole list with links, resources, and my personal blogs with the abundance of what we have done so far. It's pretty cool, and Caleb definitely notices. He's never known a life without this stuff. In so many ways, he is as privileged as can be.
When I was growing up, I starved for this stuff. I hung up my own stockings. I made my own imaginary trees. I just wanted the hallmark family. It's okay we don't have that. But so deeply, I have wanted this for my son, and maybe even for me too. That's part of why I am so intense with holidays. My close friends know this about me. I at the very least, make efforts to do food and have people over. I think this is one of the most richest parts in life. Food and people. I love them both.
Without going into detail, I will just say that over the past few years as I have planned events and meals for the last two major holidays of the year, I have had an idea as to how I wanted it to look, including people I wanted to have present. And I have had to adjust my idea of this because people will always have their own perspectives, be it from a cultural stance or just personal volition. The family I imagine entails several generations crowded around a campfire. (Yeah right, campfire in So Cal? HA!...HAHAH! Nope.) But he might not have that. Not if some folks don't value the same ideals as I. Not if some folks choose not be present. It's hard for me because it's not a perspective I understand. I just think that people matter. Family matters. Even if we disagree. Even if we have gone through hell together and because of each other. At the end of the day, what matters is our lives lived together and how much of our story we choose to write accordingly as such. I have tried. I have tried very hard. And it has come with deep sadness and struggle for me to see that people will make their choices and not be apart. And maybe, I just have to let it be and stop fighting.
Caleb and I had our own cozy Thanksgiving lunch at home today. He got up in the morning and saw me in the kitchen working on the turkey. He said, "Mom! It's just like the turkey from the farm!" Right, and I did not tell him that it indeed is one and the same. Haha!
After handling the turkey, (which by the way, is always disgusting. The neck? Juices? Giblets? I'm sorry. I can barely handle it. But i do it..) I put on Garfield Thanksgiving and Charlie Brown's Thanksgiving cartoons. I made pumpkin pancakes, strawberries, and eggs for breakfast, and we sat at my coffee table with our breakfast and cartoons.
I overcooked the turkey by a long shot. I have got to be schooled in better turkey ways. It was fine... good even, but nothing like the turkey Caleb's Nana makes. She is the master of meals.
We ate Thanksgiving lunch which this year, I did not do as much for because it was just my little man and I. We had turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry, sweet potato casserole, stuffing, pumpkin pie, and carrots. I was going to do a green bean casserole, but I will make that when I see my brother in law and sister. My sister came over later today, but I just fed her turkey and potatoes since her stomach is being strange and she doesn't eat the other food as much/at all.
Caleb was able to play outside with some kids while I did some of my cooking, and we also went on a little walk. Let me tell you, the most glorious parts of my day happened when my sister came over. I made sure she and Caleb had dinner to eat, and then I fled like the wind. I took off, left my phone and keys at home, and I ran. I jogged around the lake by my house and it was glorious. I never can leave like that because I am always with the child. Today after cooking and cleaning all day, I had to get out, and thank God that for once, I was able to. It was wonderful. When I got back, I got into the shower while Caleb was as hyper as can be. He was so wild, he ran around the coffee table over 100 times while I was in the shower. My sister counted. Usually I don't really allow that so much, but I was happily showering alone, with no wild child knocking down my door and putting his painted hands in my shower.
I gave Caleb a bath next, and then we ended the night seeing the Penguins Madagascar movie in the theater as per my sister's suggestion and treat.
This Thanksgiving didn't necessarily look like my past visions, with family and friends around. But you know what? It was good. I did not feel lacking because I was with my son, and we are our own little family. I think also, I am finally just letting it go. We are our own little family unit. And it is good to feel that. Do I desire family? Well, I have it. I have one. I have Caleb. Truth be told, I hope still for the right man to partner in life with me. Part of why, is that maybe then, I won't have to fight to have family time with more people whom I care about. Maybe, we'll just have it. Like Caleb and I do now. And if other parts of my family choose not to join in, maybe it won't be so saddening. I'm already working on adjusting. Our family will never look how I thought it should or wished because it's just not where I come from. People still live their own lives and make their own choices, even if it does not always make sense to me. I am grateful for my sister and brother in law, who care and love and who participate in as much of the tradition I implement as possible. I am grateful for equally loving, kind friends. I am grateful for a wonderful God, and a wonderful son.
In the meantime, look at our day. Our beautiful, glorious day. Yes, we are very blessed indeed. Praise be to God. May he guide us forward always.
Happy Thanksgiving, friends. May God bless you and keep you.