I’m back home from spending Thanksgiving Day and most of Black Friday with my Pasadena family. It was simply phenomenal to hang with my grandkids, Ava (3) and Charlie (22 mos.), their mama, Mary who I usually think of and refer to as my daughter-in-love or my grandbaby mama when I’m feeling playful, and my oldest son Charles. Mary lives next door to her parents and her brother also lives close by. This is the second year in a row that I’ve been invited to spend the Thanksgiving weekend in Pasadena and I had a great time last year too. I was asked to bring my collard greens, rolls and Martinelli’s again this year and I volunteered to bring macaroni & cheese. The greens and mac & cheese were a hit. Mary and her mother made everything else: turkey, stuffing, gravy, broccoli & cauliflower casserole, mashed potatoes, ambrosia, freshly made cranberry sauce, apple pie, pumpkin pie, and pecan pie. Oh my gosh, it was delicious and obscenely filling! Once we’ve stuffed ourselves, the food is cleared from the table by dividing it between the two households, getting everything put away and the dishes done. Nearly NONE of which they allow me to help with because they are compulsively awesome that way. Once the grandkids are put to sleep, we ladies head out to the stores in search of Black Friday deals! Mary, her mother Marie, and I get along really well and we learned last year that we shop well together too. In fact, last year we broke into a spontaneous chorus of “My Favorite Things” in Target last year. This year we were too tired for public displays of holiday cheer, but we sang Christmas songs in the truck on the way to the mall and back.
I want to backtrack a bit to Wednesday. I was invited to two places Wednesday night after work. My BFF Sarah’s father was in town from Alaska and she invited me over for dinner since I wouldn’t get to see him for Thanksgiving. Before I went to Pasadena for this holiday the past two years, I would spend Thanksgiving with Sarah and her family. We’d been doing that for probably six or seven years, so her father would wonder where I was. Additionally, my spiritual advisor was coming to town to spend the night at her daughter’s house, who happens to be my other BFF, Dawny. Doris, my advisor, invited me to spend some time with her to talk about the retreat she’d just been to and show me some of the meditations she experienced. I said yes to both invitations and went to Sarah’s house first for dinner. Not only was her father, Mr. Cardwell there, but so were her sister, Lynn, and brother-in-law, Rod from Arizona! I was so happy I made it over for dinner to catch up with all of them. The first thing Lynn asked when she saw me walk in the door was, “what time are you getting here in the morning to go hiking?” As part of our Thanksgiving tradition at Sarah’s, I would come over early Thursday morning and we would hike. Sarah hadn’t told them I would be going to Pasadena yet, so I explained I would be spending the holiday with my grandkids, which everybody understood. A few more folks came by and some of us went out onto the back patio to light up the fire pit. We had fun outside warming by the fire pit since it was a chilly 44 degrees and taking selfies. I headed over to Dawny’s house afterward and caught up with Doris. Dawny was out for awhile so we had plenty of quiet time to talk about Doris’ retreat and listen to some of the meditations she had recorded on her phone. Dawny got home after that and we had a grand old time just talking, laughing and enjoying each other’s company. Then some more friends came over and it got even better. I finally made it home around 9:30ish to finish up my chores before going to bed.
The next morning, Thanksgiving morning, I got a later start than I had planned. I was busy showering, dressing, packing (because I always pack last minute) and getting ready to leave. I was putting my phone charger in my purse when I realized there was something in there I didn’t recognize. It kind of stopped me in my frenzied, travel preparing tracks because I wasn’t comprehending why it was in my purse. Then it dawned on me. Someone, somewhere Wednesday night slipped a Feng Shui LOVE hand carved jade luck charm into my purse for me. It’s beautiful and is supposed to bring me luckiness. I hung it in my car. Wow. I called my Mom on the drive up to Pasadena. My middle child, Lyndon call me after I got to Pasadena so he also got to talk to his niece Ava. Her eyes got all wide when I told her who was calling me. She came flying across the room to sit next to me and said, “I wanna talk to Unca Yindon”, So she did. I never heard from Baby Bub, but I am learning to accept as a mother of all adult children now that 2 out of 3 is pretty damn good.
I realize I am incredibly blessed to be connected to and loved by so many. I am incredibly fortunate to feel at home and be a part of many families. More importantly, as I continue to accept myself and by extension accept others, the better I am able to connect with and love my friends and family for who they are on their own terms. This more than anything is was I’m truly grateful for.