Spontaneous Fellowship Saves the Day!

Last Monday, a creeping unpleasant feeling worked it’s way behind my eyes. This wisp of foulness increased slowly but steadily until, by Wednesday, I was trying not be sour about the Holiday weekend.
In our home, traditional Holidays were ignored. We enjoyed other people’s hospitality, but we never hosted Thanksgiving. On years when we didn’t go to anyone’s house, my parents stayed in their pajamas all day and did nothing (as far as I could tell). The house was quiet. The phone didn’t ring off the hook like normal. Businesses were closed, streets empty. I wandered from room to room, gathering a cloud of self pity my parents completely ignored. Good for them too. They both worked and we had an active extra curricular life full of ice skating as a family and gymnastics for me.
As a parent now, I work hard to make Holidays fun for our family even though we don’t celebrate traditional Holidays either, at least not traditionally. For Thanksgiving, my mom and I often co-host a potluck for lone friends, families who want to join us and international students. We tell everyone to bring whatever they want. For years we’ve been eating spaghetti, Chinese dumplings and oatmeal crisp for Thanksgiving. Some years we have a game day too, or drumming or both or just a lot of laughing and telling stories. And we always go around the room giving thanks. We do about the same for Christmas.
This year threatened to be different. My husband was out of town for work, my mom was out of town with mimetalker (I hear they’re having an incredible time). I was dog sitting and keeping an eye on my dad and I failed to plan a definite get together.
Either we got lucky or the universe heard my pitiful inner conversation because a loose plan to cook and play with a family we’re like family with panned out for Thanksgiving day. While we cooked and visited, our children wreaked giggly havoc in the next room with a rope and a chair on wheels. When we parted ways at 5pm, all were full and happy.
Friday, we went to visit a dear family with four girls who are all grown. Three are well into their careers and life long relationships. One is in college. We miss them all. I figured we’d visit for a short while so not to impose on their family time, but we stayed for hours, meeting significant others whose pictures we see on facebook regularly, told stories and laughed. My boys were perfectly behaved, joining in the relaxed visiting as natural as water flows (they do grow up fast). We drove home with full hearts.
Saturday we went to the only definitely planned gathering with my husband’s family, a potluck with a traditional bent. We offered apple cider cake. Jigsaw puzzles were put together, bridge games roared, children played a game of hide and seek that sounded like a happily screaming elephant tromping up and down stairs and for a while, we played a series of youtube videos of classic musical scenes like, “Make em Laugh” from Singin’ in the Rain. When we left to go to our friends house and let the dog out, my skin was still tingling with the warmth of being loved and embraced by people I joyfully call family.
Then… my husband arrived home earlier this afternoon. Our conversation did it’s usual meandering between joking around and practical speak. Our younger guy shows dad his left over dressing (a first in his young life) and now dad knows there might be more at his mom’s house. Fast forward an hour and we’ve made plans to spend the evening together with his brother and sister and their families, his mom and maybe grandma and possibly two other families we’re close to for a potluck/game night so my husband can partake of Holiday spirit.
So I’m off to make cream cheese frosting for an apple cider cake I made this afternoon and then onto the festivities!

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