So we can only pause, now and then, to suddenly stare about us and blink in the sudden glare of realization: what we have. What surrounds us. How full of beauty and pleasure and laughter and delight our lives are. Some of you might be thinking, "Hmph. Speak for yourself, missy" and of course, I am. That's all I can do. But even in the roughest of tough times, there must be some light that shines, something that speaks to your soul and gives you cause for gratefulness.
For the past 13 years, we have gathered our closest friends (and sometimes our family) together to celebrate Thanksgiving. Anders and I provide the turkey, stuffing (inside the turkey), mashed potatoes and gravy. Everything else is delegated. One person brings pumpkin pies, one brings extra dressing, the one that's a chocoholic brings a chocolate dessert. Someone is designated to bring the black olives and the cranberry sauce, and sometimes there is green bean casserole and sometimes there is a tossed salad and sometimes there is some other traditional dish: corn casserole, savory sweet potatoes, broccoli & cheese au gratin. Wine in bottles and boxes. Smiles and laughter and now, all these years later: memories and shared history; stories of us, our past and our friendship.
Some friends have moved away, some can't always be with us, and one has passed away. Sometimes we have new friends that we ask to join us, but always the people we invite are those with whom we feel a bond of friendship and tradition that makes us look forward every year to the next celebration. There's something special about this gathering, and though I miss my family and the traditions of my childhood, it feels right that here in Sweden we have built up and refined and made something of our own that we can share and revel in each year.
Tomorrow: cookie baking & a 50th birthday party open house!
By the way, for those of you who care, I went with Martin and a girlfriend Friday night to see New Moon and well, maybe we were just in the right mood, and maybe it sounds really silly, coming from a mom and woman who is well past the demographic these books and movies were aimed at, but we thoroughly enjoyed it. It was MUCH better than the first one, and it was especially fun for us to listen to an entire packed house of theater-goers, the vast majority of whom were teenage and adolescent girls, gasping with sheer joy every time one of the two male stars took off his shirt. If you're at all into Twilight, it's well worth the ticket price.
*Title from a quote by John F. Kennedy