“Not At All Like Thanksgiving”

I am waking up here in the midwest – the Google tells me the weather outside is currently 42 and cloudy – doing a little reflection before taking the dogs out. Unlike yesterday (where I let the fence provide me the joy of simply letting them out in the rain while I stayed inside), I plan on going out and taking in a few breaths of fresh air and feeling out the day.

There were a couple different times yesterday where I found myself racing against the pulse of expectation. In these moments of “how it is supposed to be”, I have to relax into the moment – let the definition rise up, see what I am really trying to do and ask myself if that expectation serves my family, my enjoyment, my ease or not. It is an interesting back and forth…

And, truly, part of why writing on Frozen Spaghetti as I work out the Little Red Hen mindset is so sacred. I feel this quick pity, this pressure is maybe even a generational curse. How I can be doing something I want to be doing and turn mad about it in an air of “who is or isn’t grateful” or “who is and isn’t helping” or “what is and isn’t happening” is really counter culture to who I feel I am.

So, yesterday, I found myself working to get pull the final round of food preparation to the table and thinking about Thanksgivings I am sure exist where the food is out buffet style and people just graze all day. I found myself wildly aware of the Thanksgiving I wanted to create like it was one of my books and wanted to pay more attention to the idea of how maybe what I was trying to create could be different.

Maybe Thanksgiving can be a new thing?

This morning, I texted in with my sisters to see how their day was and one of my sisters said it was awesome but made a comment that it was “not like Thanksgiving but it was really good”. What does that mean? “Not like Thanksgiving?” I get that statement! But is this real?

I told David last night that my mom, growing up, put on the best Thanksgivings. With zero extended family in Saint Louis, it was me and my four siblings and my parents – every year. My mom’s farmhouse childhood passed on cozy go nowhere vibes and detailed china served on a table with thick hand-carved legs. The flow of my childhood home passed a person back from movie to puzzle to kitchen to pie & candelight like a soccer ball gracing Brazil’s offense. Just easy… beautiful…

I think “like Thanksgiving” is something we all have. And maybe we know better and know that to be about health and family. But maybe we want different and know Thanksgiving to be about lighting, timing, pace, position.

I went to bed thinking about next year. My strategy for seasoning food and how to remind myself the sweet potato casserole ONLY NEEDS A MINUTE ERIN OMG when you remove the foil to avoid making burnt s’mores on top. My desire to create more place for connection, to have more visitors in the kitchen, to have Christmas – since we get our tree before Thanksgiving now – to be not be spewed into a corner but to have the house feel charmed.

My mom charms a house so well. And maybe I just need to be in her charm while she is still dishing it out. I don’t know. I suppose the only thing to make sure, make sure of is that I do not imprison myself to an idea of Thanksgiving. That Thanksgiving be about spending time with family and not about work. How to make sure rest is part of the recipe and to make sure I have plenty of candles.

It was a good Thanksgiving. I believe holidays reveal yourself to you just as relationships are mirrors. I found myself doing rounds of breath for each of the Thanksgivings I have had in my life. Feeling them in my body as I chopped and mixed. I am teaching a restorative class tonight and think I am going to offer that idea. To feel connected to your whole life, to who you have been, who you are and what you value. I believe in not avoiding those things, even if it means remembering the harder years of loss, pain and discovery.

I hope your Thanksgiving was like Thanksgiving. I would LOVE to know what makes Thanksgiving to people. I never have gotten many commenters on FS but, man, it would be nice. Signing off now…. Love, Little Red Zen

4 thoughts on ““Not At All Like Thanksgiving”

  1. Thanksgiving for me begins the night before. We attend a church service, packed with those who want to come and offer thanks for the year’s blessings. It is in the moments of worship music and quiet reflection that I revisit all the beautiful things my life. The people I love, relationships restored – and those left behind, jobs…a ridiculously comfortable bed. It centers me and gives me peace. Then we head home and I am ready for the preparations, busyness, and visitors of the next day. The message Wednesday evening was on developing excellence at gratitude. I am hoping to work on that this year, and continue with a heart of thanksgiving and the sense of peace that always seems to tag along ❤️

    1. Oh my gosh… I love all of this so much. I have been noticing developing gratitude lately, in my home, has meant extending our ideas of generosity: what is generous and what we have to be generous with… Gratitude comes from recognizing what you have, if you feel you have little – your gratitude may be more trite feeling. If we feel we have much – if we are creative with our understanding of what we have to offer and feel abundant in that – amazing how much more gratitude may be in our life.

  2. Growing up in a split family, Thanksgiving has always been going from place to place, spending just enough time to make appearances. My husband did the same. So now that we are together, we are trying to figure out what holidays look and feel like. We are trying to avoid exhaustion and burnout…we haven’t yet lol. I appreciate you sharing your journey of creating new traditions. It reminds me that we have choice and agency in all of this. Much love to you and your family, Erin.

    1. I have the chills reading this! I am so thankful you shared. Feeling settled on a day of reprieve, of giving thanks, of connection seems to be the key to allowing the day its magic. Yet, our culture is so geared to spend, burn, see – all under the guise of “share”. Wild. I try not to get heavy minded about the way the world is but remember exactly what you have written: we have agency. This year? I chose not to go to where the bustle was. I had to process that decision and know no transition is ever going to be without its bumps and surprises. It is through the wilderness we arrive to the promised land :)


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