I am unusually calm considering it is the night before Thanksgiving and I am a high anxiety, heart-racing, if there is nothing to worry about, then find something to worry about type of person. This is a good news column and if there is any time I should be writing good news, it’s on Thanksgiving, yet all I have to offer are the yearly clichés that we are all thankful for, which aren't very imaginative considering I am someone who likes to boast some new and profound insight. I’m sorry to disappoint. I have nothing, I am too calm to write.
Two and half weeks ago when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I wanted to skip Thanksgiving completely. Then again, I think up an excuse to skip the holidays every year, only this was the best one I had come up with yet. Like, who would even begin to fault me for not wanting to celebrate? Who dare say “Sorry about that breast cancer, but we still expect a turkey out of you.” I had an easy out if ever the universe had given me one.
Only, I actually love the holidays; every single one of them. I bask in them to the point of one awkward teenage year spending at least ten hours making every one of my family members, aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandma a special hat of construction paper with each letter cut out individually so that we could wear them for ten minutes at midnight on New Year’s Eve. That’s how much I love the holidays. My aunt Katie recently sent me a copy of the picture from that year, and I burst into tears. And that’s why I hate the holidays; they leave me….longing, nostalgic for something I can no longer touch, and then the added emotional reality in knowing that we will one day crave what we are celebrating now; because nothing is forever. If that doesn't leave a person with a love/hate bittersweet relationship over the holidays, I don't know what will.
But tonight, I am unusually calm. The house is clean, the table is set for a Thanksgiving feast, my eggnog is made (my aunt Annie’s recipe), my pumpkin pies are cooling, and it’s 11:00 p.m. and I just made my last of three trips to buy groceries.
So why am I so calm?
First I thought it was the turmeric. My dear friends bought me a lifetime supply of the most potent fresh turmeric available, which is known for its healing properties, and I have been peeling and grinding it daily into my food. Or….it’s the crystal I’ve been carrying. A kind lady that has never even met me gave a crystal to my daughter to give to me, because crystals are known to bring good health. She doesn’t even know me, and she wants me to get well. I’ve also been rubbing a polished stress stone that my close friends Bev and Brett gave me. Engraved into the stone is “Surround Yourself with Positive People.” I love that stone. Additionally, I am drinking green tea because someone told me it was a great anti-oxidant, not that I know what an anti-oxidant is, but if someone told me that licking my left shoulder every morning when I get out of bed will bring me good health, then I would do it (which I strangely did as I kid because I had a month long superstition that I had created in the bizarre and imaginative recesses of my pre-pubescent mind). For the record, I don't do that any more, but I would if I thought it would help.
So, how is it, that the night before Thanksgiving when tomorrow will be a mad house of chaos, cooking (by me) noise, laughter, Christmas music, football games, dogs barking, that I am…..calm?
Maybe it's because my cousins have been holding my hand giving me every ounce of their time (while I am in high maintenance mode), as are my friends, my family, and my mother who has called me every day since I was diagnosed. Maybe I have sucked the calm out of everybody else.
I have even considered that I have cried so much all week, that there is nothing left but calm. A friend from high school lost her son, only two nights ago, and another friend has a friend whose house had burned down, leaving their family homeless, and there is so much pain in so many lives, that I’m simply all out of tears.
It’s 11:00 p.m., the night before Thanksgiving. I walk in the door with bags of groceries, and my house smells like egg nog and pumpkin pie, and my dogs are sleeping, and tomorrow will be our typical Thanksgiving where we sit around the table and I have to remind my girls that they weren’t supposed to start eating until we all say what we are thankful for, what we are always thankful for; and they sigh like “here we go again” and then somebody cracks a joke and someone else is laughing so hard that Martinellis is coming out of their nose and I am scolding them for not taking Thanksgiving serious, and before you know it we are too stuffed to eat pumpkin pie, but we all do anyway, because it is Thanksgiving after all.
Maybe I’m calm because I find comfort in tradition. Sure it can make us crazy, yet it can bring us so much joy in knowing it is exactly as it is supposed to be, as it’s always been, as we always hope it to be.
This year, more than ever, I am truly thankful for everything cliché that we give thanks for about life and friends, and family, turmeric and crystals and stones, and people that are willing to reach out, even when they don’t know one another…and during the holidays when there is so much pain and sadness and grief, there is also so much love. Even when we may not realize it, we are surrounded by it, every single day. And that, is what I am thankful for, and maybe that is why I am so calm.
I wish you all more than anything in the world, a feast of Love on Thanksgiving.
Let the holidays begin!
Sweet Dreams, and Always GOOD Dreams,