The parade was not a tradition in my husband's family. I will never forget our first thanksgiving after we were married. I popped out of bed, all excited about our first real holiday as a married couple, only to find the Henderson plans were to watch ballgames all day....and the pregames, and the pre- pregames... In fact, I remember distinctly him saying, "What parade?" I know now I should have included the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in our wedding vows...Can't wait 'til we renew our vows in Hawaii--I'll include it then. (that's a hint, sweetheart.)
So for many, many years I did not watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. It wasn't until I was helping with a bible study on Wednesday nights during the holiday season that I expressed my Thanksgiving woes about the parade. I know, you are thinking wow, some bible study, huh? No really, it was a great group of ladies led by Dr. Frances Dalme...she would lead the study, Liz Ashcraft would lead the discussion, then I would lead the holiday craft section. (Does that surprise you?) Those were good times... :)
Anyway, Frances looked at me and said, "Kelli, you are almost 40 years old. Go buy yourself a TV for your bedroom and watch that parade start to finish." In other words, STOP WHINING, AND JUST MAKE IT HAPPEN! While those may not sound like life-changing words...they did the job for me. (If you know Frances Dalme, you know that you always do what she tells you to do.) So I got busy ...and told everyone involved that I really wanted to watch the parade. To my surprise, nobody protested, no one threw a fit, not one person complained. It was absolutely no big deal. Suddenly, Thanksgiving had a bit more magic to it! I got to watch the parade!!! AND I learned that the parade was a big priority for my sister-in-law, Kelli! Now, we were both happier on Thanksgiving morning! Why did I wait so long?
Then another thing happened to make Thanksgiving more magical. My mother-in-law started having a big dinner at her home and inviting all of my family. (This worked out perfectly because my side really did not want to have to cook the whole meal anyway, well, except for my grandmother...she would have liked to cook it all, but she gave in, thankfully.) Eureka! It was great! We now only had one house to go to on Thanksgiving...
Now, twenty years later, that naive little girl that was trying to learn how to be a good wife has now turned into the forty something, hands on the hips, head bobbing lady who is going to watch the parade now...no matter what. Whew... That's way more me, anyway. :) So, yesterday while sipping coffee in a morning fog, this finger wagging mama realized she was going to have to get a bit excited about this upcoming holiday. So, I did the only thing I could do. I reflected on the wise teachings of Frances Dalme... STOP WHINING AND MAKE IT HAPPEN. About a half hour later, "Kelli's Thanksgiving Potluck Game" was born. (This blog was actually supposed to tell you all about it...but it took on a life of it's own...as usual..so that will have to be reserved for another day.)
You know, so much emphasis is put on this short span of time we call the holiday season. And many times we end up feeling exhausted and spent trying to find that "magic." And yes, some of the "magic" is fun...but sometimes that holiday "magic" may transport us back in time to places that we would rather not go, or maybe we are flooded with cherished memories of past holidays that may leave us feeling sad and alone. What is my point for writing all this? Oh, how I wish I knew. But I think it has something to do with the fact that, once upon a time, Frances Dalme told me, "Just watch the parade," and I did, and it made a difference. And yes, it was a very small thing, but it was obviously big enough. So, my wish for you (and me) during this upcoming season is that we not let this chaotic next few weeks steal our joy..and may we always remember this....
"WE ARE THE MASTERS OF OUR FATE, AND THE CAPTAINS OF OUR SOULS."
Oh, and for the record.... I am really thankful for you! :)
And guess what...I got so into this "baring my soul" blog post that I forgot I had something on the stove...oops! :) Now, where are my pot scrubbers?
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
William Ernest Henley