This Thanksgiving i went to Baltimore to be with my boyfriends family. It was the first year his mother had been taking on the task of feast solo and it was very important that we show our gratitude. Although i knew that she must be dealing with her own issues of turkey perfection i still couldn't help but want to contribute. i just wanted to give something more, so that she didn't think that i was ungrateful or insensitive. And all these things are just whirlings in my mind, concerns that i create for myself because of feelings of inadequacy, or maybe expectations i had made for myself that i was scolding myself for not meeting, or just plain nerves. Not wanting to show up with a casserole or something that could already have been, and cherished, traditioned, I settled on some homemade salted chocolate, some red wine for dinner, and some prosecco for a nice digestif. looking back i think that was more than enough.
Last year for Thanksgiving i went home and did the same thing to my mother. She has been making Thanksgiving for years and she has her own recipes and traditions. In an attempt to spice things up I'm always trying to make up new recipes, throw something different in the mashed potatoes, make a corn salad that nobody really wants to eat but me, things like that. and then last year for Christmas, RJ and I had a holiday party Christmas night complete with me making turkey and all the trimmings in my crazy kitchen in Brooklyn. this Xmas I'm already thinking of the things i can bring over to my cousins house in Tennessee.
Rj and I were in Baltimore for about 16 hours for Thanksgiving, we tried to make a bus the night before to no avail so we left Thanksgiving morning. I woke up super happy, took a shower, had some coffee and apple muffins and watched the parade on TV. It was crazy to me that Ive lived in New York for 8 Thanksgivings and had still never seen the parade. But RJ had decided that we should leave the house a little early and since we practically had to walk right past it to get to the bus, I should finally see a real cartoon balloon.
And we did, it was the end of the parade but we popped up right outside Macy's and braved all the babies and tourists to see Mickey Mouse and Sonic the Hedgehog. And it was so fun!!! Then we hopped the bus and made it to Baltimore. We were starving when we got there, but we were not disappointed. Mrs Foster, and Rj's sister too had a made a beautiful feast. Two turkeys, ham, potatoes, brussel sprouts, stuffing and 3 different pies. It was amazing!! I ate too much, watched some Football and Michael Jackson and slept a long long sleep.
I think that what my problem is/might have been is that although I love to give, I have a problem with receiving. Once I finally calmed down, stopped asking what I could do to help and just sat down to eat, I had a great time. When we were running to our bus and just accepting the craziness of 34th street and all the people I felt elated. I felt that way because I was allowing myself to receive. And I know as were running headfirst into the holiday season its only going to get more intense. I keep thinking about what to buy for family and friends and how to have a great holiday season, but when anyone asks me what i want i have no idea, i almost felt myself waving off the fact that i need anything. but i need things. not even in the sense that i need those shoes or that perfume. but not acknowledging i need those sort of things inevitability means i dont accept other things that i might need. things that you need that doesnt even have a price tag. support, a compliment, love. giving without receiving can be destructive. it represents doing without ever asking for help. you can run yourself ragged trying to please everyone without letting people restore you with the same love you give to them. to give really is to receive. so the next time someone says you look pretty, believe it. the next time someone invites you over for dinner, let them let you relax for a night. BREATHE. if i can remember that through this holiday season not only will i probably stress(and spend) less, I can come closer to taking the holidays for what they really should be. loving one another, and myself.