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Memories for Thanksgiving

I think a wonderful exercise during this, our week of Thanksgiving, is to pause….remember, ponder, and be grateful for our most treasured memories.

What of your past would you like to think about?

For me, pleasurable moments and memories are many. How do I choose just a handful? I’ll try….

Girls weekend at the farm – Waterboro – 2018

All but Sheila and I had arrived early morning. There was country crafts shopping, building a snowman, and lounging in plaid shirts and yoga pants with BFF’s. When Sheila and I arrived, late afternoon, as the sun was beginning to drop in the gray November sky, but still early enough to glimpse a sliver of sun and the White Mountains from the hill where Gram Carpenter lived, we were all ready for appetizers, hot soup and salad, and wreath making. Afterward, we sat by the woodstove, chatting about everything as life-long friends do, playing a game (now via an app on our phones) and then tip-toed to our bedrooms – Sheila & me in the bunk room….which they say (and we proved) is haunted!

Away at a Camp in Maine – Raymond – circa mid-1990’s when Ben was 2; Matt was 6

Going away to camp on a lake each summer is what Frank and I love most to do in the world. Now, after 23 years of doing it, we’ve branched out beyond Crescent Lake to Kezar Lake, Long Lake, Mooselookmeguntic, Loon Lake…..but no memories are as strong or deeply entrenched as those spent in Raymond at my Aunt and Uncle’s former camp, where we bathed Ben in the tiny kitchen sink, washed our hair with Ivory soap in the lake, played board and word games, swam and floated the entire day away, toasted marshmallows, and sleepily read kids’ books in the loft, under the tiny window with the giant moon shining through. There was rock painting, exploring the woods, fishing, kayaking and just being. Being outside, being together, being totally present.

Reading in bed at night with my sons as kiddos

As you can imagine, reading matters to me. Every night of my sons’ lives, we read before bed. I read with Matt until Ben arrived. I read with Ben until I began to fall asleep doing so during my busiest and most exhausting parenting years. I will always treasure those times with my sons when we were quiet, we sat side-by-side, they asked me questions about what we read, and they talked about everything on their minds. Afterward, Ben would lift the back of his pajama top so I’d rub his back as he began to drift off. I can only imagine that that is the best way to enter your night’s slumber, gently end your day, and re-build yourself to face your next day.

My mom

My mom has always been “all-in.” She’s fun, funny, talkative, present, engaged, up-for-anything. What I remember is that she was truly interested in everything I did as a child, as a college student, as a wife, as a mom…and equally interested in her grandchildren’s lives. To feel noticed, loved, and of interest has to be the best feeling my sisters and I could have had.

Our trip to Mexico (limbo!!); our walks on Christmas Day at Kettle Cove and Two Lights; Beach to Beacon 10k Road Races over so many years; kind and unexpectedly beautiful reactions to books I’ve written; listening to Matt play music; watching Ben draw & create. These are a few of my favorite things.

For me, favorite times aren’t parties or crowds or splashy events. They’re snatched moments of joy -- lunch in Chartres, France, alone, with a tiny glass of Cassis & Champagne and Panzanella salad watching passers-by / walking along the river far out from the Mount Washington Resort in the snow when the quiet is mesmerizing / weekends exploring the beauty of the ocean surrounding Camden, Boothbay, Bar Harbor / visiting adult sons in Austin, Savannah, Burlington, and Raleigh – places which had never been on our radar.

Thanksgiving is about food, family gathering, and the magic of the holiday season. Most of all, it’s an opportunity to take a moment to reflect and be grateful.

Happy 2019 Holiday Season to you and your families! I am grateful for YOU and your friendship.

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