For the first time in years, we hosted several families for Thanksgiving, and I’m one of those people who, if I’m doing two things at once, feel almost like both didn’t happen. Not logistically – I’m just as much a multi-tasker as any other mother and if the kids start squabbling while I’m cooking dinner, it all works: they stop, we eat and I had a lot to do with it.
This is more…something else. Experiences wash off like bad dye. I don’t feel like I’ve kept the peace while actually achieving the nutritious dinner I was aiming for, even if I have pulled off both. In other words, my body and mouth were present and active at those valuable family moments, but something else is chronically absent. Or chronically interfering. With the result being that a lot of potentially nourishing family moments pass me by. And I start feeling lost and anxious. And then more experiences wash away.
I’ve put time into thinking about what this restlessness is about. There are a million potential answers, but no easy one. Not much beyond looking carefully at what it is — these days, it’s feeling like a vulture hunched on a telephone line in my mind, one steely eye on the lookout for other people getting what I didn’t get.
The vulture hangs around. He’s hard to scare off. So it felt big during Thanksgiving, our cheery house filled with people, when I remembered to look, to really look at our table, our pretty table, made pretty by L’s sense of design with the on-sale flowers I bought when I got tired of spending so much money for our feast.
Then as we started eating, the light hit the wine glasses and sent out glints. The sun started sinking in a halo of clouds outside our glass kitchen doors. A little later, around 4pm, it suddenly got darker as a cloud covered the sun, and it stayed that way. We brought out candles. The kids ate noisily and clamored for dessert. We couldn’t find the bottle-opener. Pies were eviscerated.
Through all that, and later into chess and movies, the light stayed my guide, giving little tugs to the hem of my brain, to look more closely. I took whatever light there was in like breath, like breathing, watching it change; the people and colors changing with it. I managed it for a while. It was just enough. Thanks.