Monday, November 22, 2010

A spontaneous feast

I remember when I used to post several times a week. Do you remember that?

That was back before I was a single parent. Ah well.

I spent the past week preparing the yard for winter, attempting to convince my children it’s too early to start decorating for Christmas, and trying not to read all the posts on the guidebook for pedophiles that Amazon is/is not selling. Because as much as I try to look at the issue dispassionately, I just can’t, because I’m looking at it from within the trenches. I know I haven't spoken much about the criminal investigation, but suffice it to say this hits close to home.  I can’t take the intellectual route and argue that publishing a handbook that gives advice on how to sexually enjoy a child (and avoid the corresponding jail sentence) is in any way a free speech issue when in my mind it’s quite simply aiding and abetting a crime. So I just don’t read the posts anymore.

# # #

The weather was beautiful over the weekend, perfect fall weather. We cooked, we cleaned, we played, we built a fire. The children were in good spirits up until Sunday evening when they fell apart a bit, and this was not completely unexpected. They had a counseling appointment that day and I’ve noticed that after counseling they are sometimes more emotionally raw, their tender spots exposed. Sometimes they regress and talk in baby voices or want to be held, which I’m happy to do. I wish I could protect them from all the disappointments in the world. I can love them and protect them to an extent, but I can’t always shield their hearts.

Here is what I’ve noticed lately. That while I have less time to myself, less time to write, less time for anything, I somehow have more patience for my children. While I used to only half-listen to my children as they chattered on while I attended to chores, I find more and more that I am fully present and engaged with them. Perhaps this is the gift of crisis.

We are spending Thanksgiving with a friend so I am not cooking this year, aside from a dessert. But as I stood at the grocery store on Saturday amidst the displays of cranberry sauce and dressing fixings, I was overcome with the desire to cook. So I decided right then and there I would make a spontaneous Thanksgiving meal for myself and the kids, four days early. And that’s just what we did.

The kids helped me make a pumpkin pie and it was fun. I didn’t care that my daughter didn’t measure the spices exactly. I didn’t care that my son spilled the sugar. We roasted a turkey breast, made stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, roasted asparagus, cranberry sauce and rolls. We made a right feast, just the three of us.

As we sat down at the table and my son grabbed the bowl of mashed potatoes, my daughter stopped him and said “Wait! We have to say what we’re thankful for!”

I asked her what she was thankful for and she thought about it and said, “My family and all this food.” I looked at my son and asked him the same thing. “Mashed potatoes!” he said.

I was thankful for that moment, right then, and the gift of these two beautiful souls who bring color to my world and remind me, daily, that I still have a thing or two to learn yet.


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33 comments:

  1. Maybe that's a true Thanksgiving meal - spontaneous and true togetherness x

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  2. You know, I've found myself to be much more *there* for my boys since I've been on my own too. It's amazing what you don't realise you're not doing till you start, isn't it?
    Enjoy Thanksgiving! xx

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  3. mashed potato - hmm your boy reminds me of me

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  4. Marylin, I think I always realized it, and even felt guilty about it (of course), but my relationship with them has changed. It's a deeper connection. It's nice.

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  5. @ Glen, he comes by it honestly. I survived both my pregnancies thanks to the humble potato.

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  6. Nice. I like the concept of Thanksgiving, something that is unique to your part of the world.

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  7. I love your spontaneous thanksgiving, what a great memory :)

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  8. I have to cook a turkey every year, and I did so during the 4 years I was a single Mom. It's good for the soul to make that meal!

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  9. @ Watershedd, someday when I'm in your part of the world, I'll make a Thanksgiving feast and invite you over. xo

    @ Cristina, yes, and there's less stress when it's a want to instead of a have to!

    @ Eva, cooking and baking for loved ones is good for the soul, isn't it?

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  10. Spontaneous Thanksgiving sounds lovely. xx

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  11. Thanksgiving is that time of the year for everyone, to be together, to be thankful... and to eat! Cooking is a therapy, and eating too! :) Have a good TG!

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  12. That sounds like the best idea. All the best. I hope it turns our more fun than you imagine. xoxo

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  13. I agree that the more present I am with my children, the 'easier' they are to care for. They are just better behaved when they know they don't have to compete for my attention. The 'gift of crisis' indeed. x

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  14. Cooking is indeed therapeutic. An act of creation with immediate results!

    @ Maxabella, it's true, they are calmer and happier when they have our full attention (not surprisingly).

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  15. My husband requested Thanksgiving spaghetti. I told him that was fine with me. I lied. That is SO NOT fine. Your impromptu meal sounds absolutely wonderful. I want to do that.
    Xx

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  16. It is a bit like you are making your own way head now, making up your rules as you go. Be thankful for your beautiful kids. Full Stop. xox

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  17. @ Katie, Thanksgiving spaghetti? That's so not okay. Okay?

    @ Mrs Woog, xoxo

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  18. What a great time you had, creating fun memories full of love to share xxx

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  19. Lovely post, Kristin. I teared up reading it, mainly because even though my relationship with my kids has changed for the better since I've been alone, I find it so hard to be present with them. I find it hard to be present with me too. It just hurts too much...

    Thank you, you inspire me...

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  20. Oh Dorothy, the joy and pain of coming back to life. It's a journey with no destination and we're all somewhere along the same path. The better to help each other up when we fall. xx

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  21. @ Jayne, all that's missing is some good Australian literature... :)

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  22. Turkey=yummo. Happy Thanksgiving, K.xxxx

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  23. I am glad that you are finding so much to be thankful for! That feast looks great!
    Peace!

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  24. Lovely Kristin and what a gift of the crisis xx

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  25. Oooooh, yes please! Feast for me!

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  26. The great thing about kids is that, usually, their priorites are absolutely spot on. We adults could learn a lot from them.

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  27. Even though we don't celebrate thanksgiving here in Oz I am grateful that you had such a lovely day.

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  28. @ Steve, isn't that the truth? My kids have taught me a lot, even if I'm not always such a willing student!

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  29. Strong, sensible and noble throughout.


    M2Mx

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  30. Glad you enjoyed your spontaneous, early thanksgiving.

    And I'm glad that you and the childrean are having quality time together.

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  31. It is so easy to get caught up in the 'stuff you have to do' and forget that actually spending time with your kids is much more precious.

    Reckon we could swap the explosion of Halloween over here, for Thanksgiving? Sounds much more worthwhile to me.

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