I love Thanksgiving. The gathering of family, the traditions, the meaning behind the holiday. I love the decorations, the colors, the food, and the smells.
Last year nineteen people, including young children, gathered around the table set up in my living room. I loved having kids running around the place, jumping on the trampoline, gathering eggs, playing with the chickens, petting the horses, and chasing the cats.
I miss having little ones and sometimes I find myself bewildered when I consider my own kids. Where did those years go?
Nineteen years ago I was living in an old Victorian house, in a questionable part of town. In hindsight the house seems delapitated, but it had character and a spire at one corner and I loved it. My children were four, three, two and I was 6 months pregnant. Though my days were filled with endless chores (did I mention 3 kids and another on the way?) I still loved to entertain.
There’s something satisfying about setting a beautiful table, heaping it with lovingly prepared food and sharing it with others. Sometimes we’d have the luxury of lingering over dessert and a second cup of coffee while the kids ran off to play. We’d talk about our lives, our kids, current events, what books we were reading, our dreams. We talked about cooking, decorating, parenting, events in the Middle East and everything in between. The topic didn’t matter much. We were together. Sharing life.
About that time, one of those friends, Barb, first suggested I blog. To be honest, I barely knew what a blog was, and I couldn’t imagine anyone wanting to read about my crazy life. I wish now I had listened. I would like to have those years chronicled.
I wish I had been able to really grab ahold of the old truth, “time flies”. It’s the phrase so often and so wistfully uttered by those older, wiser individuals, with a sigh and slight shake of the head. The young nod in agreement, as if they understand, but the elders know it will be many years before the weight of that truth sinks deep and finds a home in the souls of the young. Sometime in a distant future when the young have moved from the ranks of young to the not-so-young, only then will they know.
So it is with me. I have left the ranks of the young … another truth whose reality eludes my comprehension. I don’t feel as if two of my children should have spouses, my baby should be in high school, and I should be a few short years away from an empty nest, from grandchildren. Yet the truth of it pursues me relentlessly.
I am learning to navigate this new chapter of my life. It feels awkward and unfamiliar, not at all like the transition to motherhood. Motherhood felt like coming home. This feels as foreign as any foreign land I’ve visited. Yet, I know the foreign can become familiar.
We have family traditions adopted from the countries we’ve lived and visited. Those scary, unfamiliar things have become part of who we are. And it’s good. I’m finding more time and money and space for things that have always been in me. Things like starting a business, flipping houses, doing rehab, refurbishing and repurposing old furniture, dabbling in agriculture, and maybe even blogging.
Maybe there are others who share some of my interests. Maybe others could benefit from my experiences. The young mom who doesn’t think she has the energy to change one more diaper. A young couple who would like to flip a house. The friend who asks how to grocery shop on a budget or how to create healthy, wholesome meals. The twenty-something learning to navigate her way into adulthood. The one who wants tips on creating a beautiful and functional home. Others, like me, learning to navigate a new season in life.
Maybe it’s bigger than just my experiences helping others. Maybe we enrich each other’s lives by sitting around my virtual table, sharing food, and ideas and life. By finding courage to be vulnerable. And being surprised by the freedom and joy that vulnerability brings.
In Daring Greatly, Brene Brown says, “Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. ”
I would argue that it’s the birthplace of beauty too.
I am confident that this life is best lived in the company of others. You’re always welcome around my table. So, pull up a chair and stay awhile.
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