Friday, November 24, 2006
thanksgiving in whoville
One of my favorite holiday programs is the Grinch. I know I’m not alone in this. Seuss’s redemption of that miserly, lonely, avarice-ridden hill-dweller is everything you need from a parable. Holidays offer a glimpse at the measure of a heart. They can act as electron microscopes and cosmic telescopes, both.
As in musical composition, capacity for crescendo is informed by emotional and artistic preparation. And by artistic preparation, I guess I’m edging into the territory of one’s particular talent for reality.
The better one’s talent for reality, the better able one is to mitigate the mundane with nuance, joie de vivre, what-have-you. And the more able one is to put oneself into the provincial task of daily living, the less likely that person will be to dive off the board during a party, or leave one feeling bereft.
I’m not a naturally social person. I have more than one quality in common with the mean old Grinch on the mountain. It’s not that I begrudge, it’s more like I expect disaster. I anticipate failure. This often leads me to a brand of inertia that looks like misanthropy. I have often worried that I might pass this tentativeness onto my children.
That’s why I invited a bunch of people over for Thanksgiving dinner. With Sam and Maggie now living elsewhere, the stakes are higher. I can either claim them during these sorts of occasions, or risk losing them to households with better socially functioning people.
Now past the initial post-divorced months, I’ve been experiencing a heightened sense of reality. I am finding myself, as they say. Rediscovering a capacity for fun, for imperfection, for texture.
I’m a sap, by the way. I save weird stuff: pregnancy sticks that culminated in the birth of my kids, reconnaissance maps from childhood spy games, my college ID. I have my two degree-announcing graduation tassels obscuring a small snapshot of my first wedding—a Catholic affair complete with a crucified Christ as backdrop—sitting just above my line of vision as I type this. My environment is replete with stock. That I love, have loved, will continue to love is three-dimensionally manifest.
So, the sentimental mommy puts it all out there for a big, old-fashioned secular bash, jams the house full of people. Beloved people. And the energy is rich, textural, human. My children are engaged, all three of them, in being with people, eating hearty fair, being grateful, in their way.
What I’m getting at is this. I now have overwhelming evidence to suggest that my children are healthy, reasonably happy, and not given to addiction born of deprivation. They are comfortable in their skins. Thanksgiving helped me see this, and for that, I am deeply grateful.
But more to the point, I am comfortably moving into my life as a single woman, a mother, a writer, a hostess—whatever. So, bring on the holidays. Get me some mistletoe.