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Yes...this is ALL about me, and mine. Marvellously self indulgent, feel free to tell me how splendid I am, leave comments, nice ones please, I have little kids and teenagers who can do the rude stuff. I am a grandma, to the glorious Joshua, I'm allowed to look frazzled and weary, I earned it. The older I get, the more I see that hanging on and being patient is worth it! They ( whoever 'they' are) are so right when they say you never know what is around the corner, it isn't always an articulated truck! It is vital to make the time for making memories, friends are the greatest treasure, I love mine. I am rich!

Friday, November 27, 2009

On being thankful.....

Yesterday was Thanksgiving in America, personally, I think we all ought to have one day a year where we think about the things we are grateful for and say them out loud. Everyone, the world over.
I am being grateful a day late, which is fine, nothing wrong with hanging onto your gratitude for an extra day, even if it's because on the day you are struggling with any feelings of thankfulness because you are just so ANGRY at just about everyone and everything and then feel guilty for feeling that way and so where's the room for gratitude?
I was very grateful at 8pm, when guests had gone and kids were in bed and meals had been collected, I was truly thankful then. Just too tired to write about it or even open my mouth to say anything other than " Oh how lovely."
Usually, at Thanksgiving, we invite people we think might enjoy a slap up meal with an American theme, usually they say they can't come and then when we have finished eating, they turn is becoming a tradition that I don't enjoy, so this year we didn't invite anyone, apart from mum and Leah who I knew I would go and collect and so if they had called I would have said "Oh no you don't ladies.....get your coats, I have cooked this food, you're eating it" They didn't call, even though they know all about the rat saga and Mum was afraid that she would smell Rat pee every time she tried to swallow food and therefore vomit. Bless her heart.
In fact, Gemma popped in this week and said " oooh, your house smells lovely, like cinnamon and lovely things" so I dragged her towards the kitchen and shoved her head in the cupboard under the stairs. That showed HER.
Mum also said that she couldn't smell anything, I let her off and just enjoyed the fact that the burning granules, plug ins and copious cooking smells had obviously masked all the stinky things. Also, she didn't say she hadn't smelled rat until she was in the car going home and I was just too weary to drive home and frog march her to the cupboard under the stairs, also she is 71, I am not totally heartless.
So, we didn't invite anyone outside the family and I was THRILLED, oh I was so happy to be preparing for just family, all relaxed and laid back. I was all ready on wednesday, everything bought and waiting to be turned into heavenly food.
At 7 pm on wednesday evening the phone rang and a voice on the other end said " Hey! Helen, it's Elder ( can't remember) here, I hear you are wanting to feed the missionaries tomorrow for thanksgiving!"
"Oh, did you? Well, actually,I did look at your dinner appointments weeks ago and saw that the date was blocked out, I assumed that meant you were all set and so I invited other people"
"Hey, well that was because blah blah blah blah and now that doesn't matter and so HEY we are free, lucky you huh?"
"Oh, um, well, I suppose we will see you at 5.30 then"
And I was SO ANNOYED! So indignant that someone had told them to call me the night before and invite themselves to dinner when I didn't want to make it a big deal, when I was so happy that my house was going to look lovely, smell lovely and be filled with delicious food and I was actually going to be able to enjoy it all for a change rather than be worrying if we had enough food, enough places to sit, not fret over the fact we don't have a dining table and now I had to DO ALL THAT FUSSING.
I had to go and buy more turkey because we bought one that was just right for our family + 2, Sophie's friend had also asked what Thanksgiving was all about and then said " Oh lovely, I'll come for that then" numbers were creeping up and all by people I didn't CHOOSE. Yes, unchristian indeed.
So we bought an extra Turkey breast joint and a big ol Turkey drumstick, all good. All set again.
Yesterday, when I went to put the turkey into the oven, it was still frozen, rock solid frozen, even though it had been out of the freezer since monday. I didn't want to believe it was still frozen so I took the giblets out and ran it under the cold tap for an hour...still very frozen but I was cross so I put it in the oven anyway and thought I would be fine if I just prayed that no-one would die. After 30 minutes, I thought that maybe that was a wonderful way to prove my faith but a sure fire way to prove I didn't have quite enough faith and then kill people.
I took the Turkey out and poked it again and the outside was all hot and steamy and the inside was still so hard I knew I had to admit defeat and not cook it. Of course I had, by putting it in the oven rendered it totally inedible and swarming with salmonella bugs. In the bin and I was back in the car.
Have you ever tried to find fresh turkey in England, in November? Don't bother , you won't find any. I cooked a turkey breast joint, 2 big old turkey drumsticks and 2 chickens.
At 5pm, I had a phone call from the missionaries to say they were delayed and wouldn't be able to make it at 5.30pm and I am sure I detected the idea that I was meant to say "oh, never mind, we can wait"
However, what I actually said was " Oh, that's shame, do you have a car? Oh good, well, when you are done and when you get back, call around and I will give you 2 plates of delicious food that you can take home and eat, how does that sound?"
And after a quiet moment he said " Oh, OK, thankyou"
My mood immediately lifted and all was well.
Oh, after the invite themselves phone call, when I was grumpy, Mel was here with Joshua-the-destroyer, her face was sweet and she said very quietly "can you save me some?" and I said of course I would and I so wanted to invite her to come up and I'm not saying I don't adore Joshua at all times but dear life that child has 4536 arms and on each arm are 3 hands and on each hand there are 534376 fingers and every one of those hands and fingers and arms are at all times busy with their sticking in of little things into electrical items, he loves buttons and lights and if something has buttons that turn on lights, all bets are off and he is in heaven. He also likes me, for which I am eternally grateful and he wants mammar to pick him up and carry him, until I do pick him up and carry him and then he wants DOWN! DOWN NOW! And so despite my adoration, I was loathe to add him to the mix of great grammas and uninvited people and my own loud and show offy kids. But I did.
How can you NOT invite your own grandchild and his quite beautiful and lovely mummy to thanksgiving dinner. So I did and I said "How lovely, all you girls and Joshua can have a lovely get together in Sophie's room and you can eat in there and watch TV and KEEP THE BABY WITH YOU and have fun and enjoy the food and KEEP THE BABY WITH YOU and I am so excited you will all be here and be in Sophie's room WITH THE BABY!
Because usually, Joshua follows me and I would never, ever say or do anything that would ever make such a precious baby feel I didn't want him close to me, so I can be found in the kitchen, where all the hot things are found saying "Oh my darlin' did you come to see gramma? Did you, uh oh, careful my darlin' it's so HOT in here and oh, don't touch that sweetie, OH OH Joshua, bless your heart, where's mummy? Oh no don't touch that darlin' oh.. whoops, no don't eat it, don't eat that baby, where's mummy, careful it's hot! Oh no...not in there baby, whoops"
So, I knew then that I would be catering for 13 and I got used to the idea. When I knew that the 2 not family members wouldn't make it to sit down and eat I cheered up immensely. Call me hard hearted.
When I came downstairs on wednesday, I found a line up of ingredients all along the worktop, marshmallows, pumpkin pie ingredients, cornbread muffin mix, green beans, mushroom soup and I gathered from such a sight, that H had exacting ideas of what he would like and how he would like it and the prickling began. He said he would like oyster dressing, which made me heave, he explained that his aunt Gloria would make this dressing, so I looked it up, heaved a bit and wrote down what I would need. Then he said he would like the sweet potato casserole with marshmallows (which has always made me gag a little and wonder who thought of such a thing?) so I looked that up and wrote down what I would need. I was all set, I then went to buy the things I didn't have, armed with a list, written by H. A list. I have never in all my 47 years taken a list shopping, I will admit that as I wandered around the supermarket checking this list and picking up ingredients for food I was pretty sure would make me vomit, I felt a fleeting irritation towards H and then I let it go, for about 8 hours.
I always want him to feel that the Thanksgiving meal is perfect and I always hope that it makes him happy and miss home a bit less, I try my hardest and usually it is a success, so to be told that it ought to be done differently made me a little cross.
Wednesday night, as the boys were going to bed, I asked Seth to pick up his clothes and fold them, he picked them up and sort of rolled them into a muddled pile and as he was about to leave the room H said " Seth, do you really think that is a good job?" Seth looked and said " well, yes, I do" and I said ( flippant me) " SETH! Anyone would think you are a BOY!"
And there followed a rant about how offensive that remark was, how dare I say such a thing? Why would I assume that just because he is a BOY he wouldn't be able to fold clothes properly? What was I thinking to say such a thing? Why did I think that kind of throw away remark was OK because didn't I understand that the boys would grasp such remarks and use them to do a sloppy job and then who would we blame? Huh? HUH?
I kept my mouth shut, if I had opened my mouth right then I would have blown it. So, I sat and I fumed and I raged inside, I was overwhelmed with such a sense of injustice that I wasn't sure I would ever be able to open my mouth and say what I wanted to say, I toyed with the idea of not saying anything and just hurting him with a solid object, for longer than I should have probably, luckily, he took 45 minutes to read to the boys so by the time he came back downstairs, I was ready.
Sophie was in the room and I was darned if I was going to wait until she left to say what I wanted to say so I let him have it.
"Would you regard it as offensive for someone to assume that only a woman could cook a large thanksgiving meal? Would you? Oh good. Would you be offended if someone were to leave a pile of ingredients out for you to see and then assume that is what someone else wanted YOU to prepare? You know, rather than ask nicely or actually open their mouth and say something polite like " Oh, you know what I would like this year? Would you mind doing that? Is that OK? Well I DO find that offensive, really offensive and yet, I kept my mouth shut because I told myself that you didn't intend to be so rude and thoughtless, I ran around buying all the things YOU wanted, I have found everything you couldn't even be bothered to tell me you wanted, just by looking at your signs and working them out for myself, I am cooking this meal..WHY? Can you not do it because you are a man? How thoughtless and rude of me to assume I ought to be doing all this work because I am the woman and here, all this time you could just do it yourself? Who thought?"
I said all that without giving him a chance to answer because when he does answer me during one these times when weeks of frustration come bursting out of my soul, he is guaranteed to say the wrong thing. Sophie, in a rare show of tact, quietly closed the laptop and left the room , either tact or a quiet surity that she was in the line of fire.
He has been saying and doing the wrong things consistently for the last 2 weeks, without any effort at all, he has made me angry and sad, furious and bereft over and over again. What I should say is, he has managed to ignite what is already there, I am so anxious lately about things I can't even write and true to form, rather than work on what is really worrying me, I push that aside and so H will open his mouth about something irrelevant and a whole slew of rage will come pouring out. H is tactless, it is all part and parcel of who he is and the aspergers and I try to be understanding of that, the thing is, who is giving ME some slack? Who is there for me, with some understanding and knowledge that this is who I am, there are times when I just really wish that he would give some thought to why I feel the way I do....but he can't and so, this is it.
It is our 10th wedding anniversary today and so far, no comment or acknowledgment has been forthcoming, although Sophie gave us a card, addressed to 'Mum and Dad' and really, after that, anything is going to seem inferior because what could possibly be greater than this particular child of mine showing that the man she fought for 9 years is like a dad to her? Nothing that's what.
By the way, the dinner was very successful, H said it was all perfect and exactly what he loves, everyone enjoyed it and I was so happy when it was all over and everyone was stuffed and relaxed, I love that H does all the clean up, to not have to wash a single dish is still a thing of glory to me, even after 10 years.
Happy Anniversary H, now go out and but me a present.

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Anonymous Sara said...

Happy Anniversary to you both! xxx

6:23 pm  
Blogger Julie Julie Bo Boolie said...

Happy Anniversary! And well done! I've never eaten sweet potato casserole with marshmallows but I'm rather sure I'd quite enjoy it actually.

8:28 pm  

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