26 Nov thanksgiving feels
Sitting in the Martins’ kitchen on Thanksgiving Day, thinking about all of the things I am grateful for… well, actually, that’s not entirely accurate. I’m thinking of the things that make me laugh. I’m thinking of the things that make me wistful, misty-eyed, sentimental too. I’m marinating in memories and savoring the sweet ‘feels’ of Thanksgiving past. Conjuring up the memories of Thanksgiving from childhood, I’m confronted by the realization that I really don’t remember much. I remember coming to Las Vegas for a HUGE family get together and seeing cousins and great aunties and enough food to feed an entire prison population. I remember the road trip to Vegas, falling asleep for most of the journey because that’s what I did in cars back then. I remember sneaking out to the driveway and smoking a cigarette with a cousin-of-sorts and forever being reminded that we were conspicuously absent from the family video (throughout the video, various people commented, “Where is Holly? Where’s Jen?”). That memory makes me laugh. Little rebels, we were. I’m trying desperately to remember more, but the holes in my childhood memories are wide and cavernous and black.
The fear, the huge fear that looms over me, is that I will forget more. I will forget essential, precious moments with Mase. I’ve already forgotten some. Not because I want to, not because I gave myself permission to, but because that is the nature of the human brain. It forgets. It has gaps. Time dulls the sparkle, it lulls us with a sweet fog and steals moments when we aren’t looking. I want to fight Time. Forget the gloves, I want to bare-knuckle fist Time right in the kisser. I want to steal memories back. I want to build a fence, a wall, a safe house, and store all of my memories within a boundary sealed tightly against the influence of Time. It’s a defeating moment when you realize you are powerless. The realization comes swiftly and quickly like an unexpected slap, but within seconds I am also able to acknoweldge my gratitude for Time. Every day that passes takes me one day closer to that day when Time no longer tortures me with long stretches of loneliness all the while snatching away memories of joy.
I’m thinking of my last Thanksgiving with my son. Brussels sprouts with bacon were on the menu that year! Family in town, video games playing, pies cooking, turkey browning up so fine. In honor of my grandma, the TV was tuned to the Thanksgiving Day parade. Oh how we loved family and friends! The Chamberlain home was always open. We loved a full and busy house. Friends who had nowhere to go, who might have been alone, who just wanted an extra helping of love… those were the ones who had an open invitation to the Chamberlain home. Not just on Thanksgiving, but errrrrrrrday. Every single day.
We loved. We actively, intentionally, and readily loved.
Today, as the mimosas flow and I watch my dear girlfriend and her hubby create culinary miracles in their cozy kitchen, I am thinking of laughter. I am savoring special moments that pop into my mind, I’m toasting the love that is such a prominent character in my story, and I am sitting with the feelings. They are all here today. Like relatives who have made the long journey for a holiday visit, my feelings are present and accounted for… fear, love, sadness, hope, joy. Their appetites are strong, their salivary glands actively preparing to devour the day. Who will sit at the table of my heart? Who gets first dibs on my mind? Which feeling will be at my right and which will sit at my left? Which will accompany me throughout the day and never leave my side? Which one will take a nap with me and speak into my sleepy mind? All the ‘feels’ are here today, each vying for its turn with my attention.
I’m thankful for this moment. Thankful for the Martins, friends of my heart. I’m thankful for the humor that is alive and well in our relationship and the ribbing we give each other. Im thankful for the comment Sean-Martin made this morning… “Holly, we’ve bonded.” Short, sweet, and direct. Ohhhhh the joy that floods my soul. I’m thankful for the 47 trees Daisy Rain is busy decorating. We have the GayVegas tree proudly displayed in the front window, in all its flamboyant and flashy glory. We have the AngelGrandparents tree in the kitchen (before any cooking commences, this tree is up!). The Martha Stewart tree with beautiful red & gold decorations will come later. She had to take a break to start the turkey. I guess she’s allowed… <sighhhh> Soon, we will tear into a beautiful bird and all the fixins. We’ll sip some wine and groan about the goodness of stuffing. We’ll pause, and pray, and express deep and holy gratitude for what Daisy can do with sweet potatoes.
And the entire time, I’ll sit with my feelings. I’ll make room for them all as if I had extended the invitation and waited impatiently for them to arrive. I’ll welcome them as family, and affectionately snuggle up with them as time passes and minutes tick by and new moments occur. All the feels. Each one a welcome part of the day. I’ll go with the flow and move between memories of my childhood and memories of Mason’s childhood. I’ll remember loved ones who are gone, and imagine my heart’s explosion on the day we are reunited. The true moment of Thanksgiving when every tear is wiped away and every delicious, precious memory is restored. When every ounce of joy floods in and every drop of sadness, regret, and grief are forever drained. I look forward to that day of Thanksgiving, when I can throw myself at the future without fear and let go of the past without guilt.
The turkey is simmering away now folks. The pumpkin cheesecake is chilling. There is snow on the ground outside and the pups are snuggled up in their favorite places inside. Daisy is showering and prettying up, Sean Martin is upstairs in the man cave detoxing from all of the estrogen of the morning’s festivities, and I am at the kitchen table by the AngelGrandparents tree, writing. All is right and good in this house on this day in this moment. I am wishing with my whole heart that you find a similar experience today. I am thankful for you, and hope you know that just by reading this post, you have encouraged me in my journey. I hope you sit with all the feels today too, and savor the memories that bubble up to be with you today.
Today and every single day.