Know that this WHOLE conversation started because of what I heard on NPR, public radio about a catholic church that had closed and all of the parishners had to attend other churches. Terry Gross (that I LOVE) said, "Going to another church and not your own....was it like having thanksgiving at your best friend's house?"
It was almost like Terry said that to me directly. Get out, I didn't know that she had read my journal.
I grew up having every holiday event and dinner at our home,
573 Campbells Creek Drive Charleston, WV
with just the 5 of us.
Mom, Dad, Carol, Larry and I would eat around a small round table being overly thankful and blessed to have a great meal. This great meal was welcomed for several reasons:
1. We often got to share a bottle of pop. All three of us kids would split one RC cola. That was a HUGE treat.
2. Mom would always take a picture with Dad in the picture. Did anyone think to take it of her?
No, we weren't very thoughtful.
3. By fixing dinner at our house each holiday, we would then have yummy leftovers for days.
4. I learned that we are to nurture within first, then would have the abiltity to nurture others.
After this small family dinner (or lunch) we would go to an extended family member's house, usually our Mama Carte's house. There everyone in the family would gather and eat. The women all worked hard to fix the dinner - and guess who got to eat first???
Yes, that's right, the MEN. ALWAYS. ATE. FIRST.
Then the women and children would sit around the table for hours talking while the children snacked then played, then snacked and played, all the while the women continued to chat.
Then we would all go home tired and full.
We were full of physical sustance, but mostly we were full of family love and time together.
As a grown up, things have changed. How did this happen?
Many things have contributed to this change for the holidays. I moved away as an 18 year old - to not return until I had my own family and was 30 years old. But returning home, I got the idea right away that I did not know how to cook, so I was discouraged from ever bringing anything to the family table.
So, for about 8 years, I went to Mom's house and never contributed to the family meal.
Instead, we brought fun and Elizabeth!
Fast forward to 4 years ago - it was just Elizabeth and I. Mom and Carol had moved on to their own new families, so no more family dinners. It felt that my whole life I only wanted to have a warm family for the holiday. So, by meeting Nate - I quickly realized that he was my ticket to a big family holiday dinner.
I could not ask for a more welcoming family to bring us into the fold. In addition to this family - Missy's family also took in the two homeless family members. We still frequent her family for the feeling that fun, family feel while working around Nate's family of food and love.
Some of my favorite times with the family is when we clean up in the kitchen with just the women present.
Yet... it still feels like we are having dinner at our best friend's house.
I have recently made the executive decision to ALWAYS cook first before going anywhere.
My daughter will get the treat of having just us first, then our best friends dinner. There is not one part of Nate or Missy's families that make us feel any less than family - yet, yet, yet - I think E needs to have the security and small family feeling of just having me or us. Before breaking bread with anyone else.
We first share the holiday together.
Then we are better people to share the holiday with.
We will be even more grounded - because we nurture within so that we have more to share.