just bring pie

believeinwonderfulI will warn you that if you are prone to anxiety and are experiencing signs of early onset holiday stress, this post is going to really annoy you.  In fact, you may want to hurt me when you’re done reading . . . So I stood outside the classroom door yesterday afternoon chatting with another mom in my littlest love’s class — who also happens to be my hair stylist — and I asked her what appears to be this week’s dreaded question: so how’re you doing?

I’M FREAKING OUT she turns and says to me.  I HAVE THIRTY MALDONADO’S COMING OVER FOR THANKSGIVING DINNER!  I JUST SPENT FIVE HOURS CLEANING MY HOUSE AND THE HOUSE CLEANERS SHOULD BE THERE NOW AND . . . As she’s spilling all this I notice the ball cap, the hair pulled back in a ponytail. Yoga pants with bits of paper towel lint clinging to them, sheer panic broke open across her face because she’s forgotten the time and had to rush out to scoop up her kid with still a million things on her to-do list.  I can’t even say this sprung to my lips because I felt such a serenity wash over me when I let slip out an All will be well.  It just rolled right out, followed by an Everything will be just fine.  What could possibly go wrong?  WELL, I JUST REALIZED I FORGOT TO ORDER A TURKEY AND I CAN’T GET THE KIND I WANT IN TIME NOW AND . . . Oh, I continued on, I have a turkey you can have — it’s brining in the fridge right now.  You want it?  It’s all yours if you need it.   [there there.  now now.  everything’s going to be just fine.]  She let out a nervous laugh and rushed off smiling with her boy, no doubt shoving him into the car and screeching out of the parking lot on her way to the supermarket.  She thought I was kidding about that turkey in my refrigerator,  but I wasn’t.

Earlier that same morning I received a wake-up call from my mother-in-law, and when I sent it to voice mail, a text message followed a second later.  GOOD MORNING!  I’M MARKETING THIS A.M.  WHAT IS MY ASSIGNMENT FOR THANKSGIVING?  WHAT SHOULD I BUY?  PLEASE LET ME KNOW!  THANKS!  I thought we agreed on pie, I grumbled.  Just bring pie and there’s absolutely nothing else to worry about.  Isn’t that the truth, though?  A few wonderful people gathered around a pie, why who even needs a fork!  So how come everyone’s in full blown preparation and panic mode?

Honestly, when I decided a few weeks ago to host our family Thanksgiving celebration  I was determined not to make a fuss.  We’re a small family, after all.  Our usual plus two.  So I thought I’d just make dinner.  You know, buy some food and cook it.  Enjoy spending the day together.  Maybe put out a few extra table decorations and reach for the festive plates but all in all keep it simple.  That sort of thing.  And this remains my plan despite all the people freaking out around me.  The streets are clogged with marketers on the prowl for sweet potatoes and pearled onions.  Hysterical hostesses are sweeping and filing and polishing before their housecleaners arrive.  And my thought is this.  If I can’t have the entire Plymouth Plantation or even just Mr. Carson and Mrs. Patmore and a downstairs full of servants to rush about and do these things for me, why bother with all the stress?  There will be food in the store.  It will get purchased and cooked and will certainly taste delicious.  Things may not go perfectly but if we look for laughter in the people around us, everything will be just fine.  Trust that with faith and good humor, something wonderful is always around the corner.

so not her right now, but check back with me in a few weeks

i am so not her right now but check back with me in a few weeks


Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.  [i know. a quote so sweet you want to kick me, right?]

Marcel Proust


For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I among them. ~ Matthew 18:20


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  1. This is great. I love it. And it makes me think about my own stress right now. I’m not stressing about Thanksgiving, I’m stressing about Christmas. I’m stressing about how I’m going to do all of the shopping and all of the grading and all of the accreditation work and all of the packing. And your post has me thinking about how I can reduce that stress. I really don’t like the fact that my extended family still operates on an everyone-buys-gifts-for-everyone-else model. I would prefer that we go to a charity-donation model or a drawing-names model, but that is not what has happened.

    I was thinking that this year, I might not send gifts, just card (although I don’t usually do cards). Your post made me think that a card with a personal comments might be good. But then I’m thinking that my aunt and uncle really liked the tea I sent last year. Maybe I can just send everyone tea? I’m determined not to work myself into a lather or spend a lot of money, but I’m not sure how.

    And then there is the kids. I love to lavish them with goodies and presents at Christmas, but it is always too much. Too much that they don’t care about for very long. So I’m thinking about how to revise that a little bit, too.

    So, what I’m trying to say is that now I need your Christmas post.

    • “Good Enough Woman,” I am sure whatever you do is going to be just fine! My father in law always sticks hand selected and often cheesy Hallmark cards into the tree for each of us, and this is my favorite part of our family gathering. He goes out to the Hallmark store, chooses a card for everyone and writes a sweet message–his thoughtfulness is the best gift. I am sure cards and tea would go over well anywhere!

      For me, I am at a point in my life where I don’t feel like I need to impress anyone with perfection. I have a pretty good handle on things and know that whatever I do will suffice. Simplicity, kindness, and attentiveness–sharing love and listening and being present. This is what I have to put under the tree!!

      Lots of love to you!

  2. ahhh, I should have read your post earlier, before I vacuumed the floor & carpet because in my haste to get prepared for nine tomorrow, I put out all the serving dishes for the feast, while Bob & I worked on dinner. then while getting the plates out for dinner, down from the shelf above crashed my favorite pitcher, a gift from my sister-in-law, onto my grandmother’s compote, which I love putting fruit in on the counter so we actually see it and eat it. pottery & glass shards, hunks, and pieces in every dish, on top of my cooling cranberry sauce, and of course all over the floor & carpet. why was I trying to do three things at one time?! thanks for passing on your serenity, it is a welcome ending of this day that has been crammed with too many things – PT, picking up the van from being winterized, etc. Christmas? that is another season, and one I hope not to contemplate until Advent. Happy Thanksgiving dear ones!

    • Sending serenity your way, Susan. I was out with the fam for dinner tonight and took them all to the market with me afterwards. Had the girls plop down with hot chocolates and sent Mark around to grab various things as I gathered up some food for our meal. They had everything I needed at 8:30 PM, all except a parsnip, but I was correct in remembering there was a fat one in my refrigerator already. A glass of wine and some music in the kitchen while I sliced some squaw bread for my stuffing, made the cranberries and peeled the root vegetables. We’ll go to mass tomorrow morning and then just come what may, it will all get finished and eaten. I’m just trying to enjoy the cooking and being at home, and I am so grateful my scheduled cleaning day was today–the house fairies have been to polish and tidy, so I feel blessed and ready for anything. I hope you have a wonderful gathering tomorrow!

      • susan board says

        thanks, Rebecca, we had a wonderful day with my daughter, her new husband & his three kids, my grandson, and my son from Portland. it was all I hoped & prayed it would be: harmonious & fun. the food was good, and while the turkey cooked, we played Mexican Train. after the feast, we had a Monopoly tournament with the women coming out ahead. I really wanted to go to mass, but unfortunately, our new priest scheduled it for 9am, and we needed to have the turkey in the oven by 8:30. neither your dad nor I am moving very fast this year with me still recovering from back surgery and him being in a lot of pain with his back. this is the first year we haven’t gone to Thanksgiving mass. we worked together to get the bird in the oven, one on each end of the roaster. my daughter, Kathy, helped with everything when they arrived at noon, and the kids set the table. even my son, the cynic, had a good time. hope your day turned out to be everything you hoped for.

        I had a one-month experience of a cleaning woman in Oct. and expected her to come this month, but she is having radiation for breast cancer, and wasn’t able to come. she thinks she will be able to come in Dec. that was my first experience in having a house fairy, and I loved it!!! consider yourself very blessed woman ;). it was actually funny when I was pointing out to the kids their grandmother & great-grandmother’s oval, glass-topped end table, and it was all covered with dust. the funny thing for me was that I hadn’t even noticed it; probably a first for me – not that it was covered with dust, but that I hadn’t dusted before people came or noticed it….

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