Deep in Thought . . .

I've been feeling very reflective lately. As I've gotten older I've learned to live in the moment more. I've become more aware of how often I am in the middle of doing something or experiencing something yet my mind is somewhere else. To stay in present moment takes a lot of practice but, once you have the awareness, that's half the battle.

My oldest son, Connor, turns sixteen on November 17th. My first baby. When I was pregnant with him I adopted a cat. Her name is Abigail and she just turned 16 last month. John was not thrilled that I went to a street fair and came home with a cat. He was not an animal person and our other cat that was already mine when John and I met sensed that. John took it personally that the cat wouldn't go near him and ran and hid under the bed when he came home. I found it amusing but I guess that just added to his dislike of her. So when I came home with this kitten he was mad. Eventually he got over the fact that I was going to get my own way and keep Abigail whether he liked the idea or not. As I sat there with Abigail sitting on the very large "shelf" of my belly (Connor weighed in at a healthy 10 lbs. 9 oz. when he was born to give you an idea of how large my shelf was!!) I said to John, "just think, this baby could be driving and Abigail could still be here with us." Needless to say, that joke went over like a lead balloon and he replied, "if we're lucky, this baby will run her over if Abigail is laying in the driveway." I remember that conversation like it was yesterday. Now here it is, sixteen years later. Abigail is still here with us. "That baby" is going to be driving in a couple of weeks. John passed away. That leads me to another reason why I have been so reflective lately.

November is a bit of a sad month for my family. John passed away four years ago on November 21st. My father passed away three years ago on November 16th. Both were sudden and unexpected losses. Time makes loss easier to deal with but never, ever takes away the pain completely. When milestones occur, the losses are brought back up to the surface so easily. Connor's sixteenth birthday is certainly a milestone. Trevor playing football for the first time this year was a milestone. Brendan losing his first two teeth less than a day apart from each other last week was a milestone. Connor joining Nyack Fire Department is a milestone. The tradition carries on. His grandfather was a member. His father was a member. Now he'll be joining the long list of Wanamakers and their family members that have volunteered to serve our community. Even though his last name isn't Wanamaker, he is definitely one of them!! That same sense of humor that my goofy Wanamaker cousins have has carried over to all three of my boys. Lord help me!!! : ) My father must be very proud!!

Another factor in my reflective thinking has to do with the impending holiday season that is so rapidly approaching us. Each year, the people that sit around our Thanksgiving table seems to change. For many years, it was the holiday with my father. I would cook and my sisters and aunt and uncle and sometimes cousins would come over. Then it expanded to add significant others and eventually our offspring. When my father passed away things changed dramatically. It was then a holiday that was spent with my mother. My stepfather passed away a year before John so we started to include my mother. I know my mother never really understood why she wasn't asked to join us before Gary died. My parents were divorced and, like most other people who come from a divorced family, we had to split ourselves up each holiday. What a pain in the ass to be quite honest. Just when you got situated at one place it was time to go to another. Christmas was the most difficult. We had three boys in tow and, by the time we made it to our last stop, which happened to be my mother's house, they were usually tired. My mother wanted them to be happy and animated about their gifts but they were just too tired after a long day. My mother did get the short end of the stick on Christmas and I understood why she would get disappointed but it couldn't be helped. Thanksgiving was the one holiday that we didn't have to leave the house. I've had Thanksgiving dinner wherever it was that I was living at the time for about 20 years. I think there was maybe one or two years at the most that this didn't happen but every other year it's been at my home.

This year things are going to be different again. My in-laws (John's parents) are going to be eating with us. Peggy always cooked a wonderful dinner on Thanksgiving but her health doesn't allow for that anymore and my father in law needs to be able to eat and relax. He does enough every other day of the year. I invited them and I'm happy to say they accepted. Jim doesn't have to work which is wonderful. My sister Cindy and her two kids will be here. My mother will be here. My sister Stephanie will not be here. Unfortunately, we haven't seen or spoken to each other in almost two months. This is one of the reasons I haven't done any updates on her in a while. This is her choice and I have to accept it. She is doing what she needs to do to take care of herself and I am doing what I need to do to take care of me. Hopefully, this will change some day. Life is too short. That is something that this family knows all too well.

So, like I said, this year will be different around the Thanksgiving table. It will still be a happy day. I always try to make every day a happy one for my three sons. Life changes. Life goes on. Life is what you make of it.

Many blessings ~ Wendy


Kathy said...

I hope Stephanie decides to include you in her life again soon. ((hug)) My thoughts are with you this time of year.

Bridge said...

I have a sister who does not talk to me :(
hang in there!
love your blog, the photo here is especially beautiful.

earthmama said...

I have so much I want to say about this post! What really stands out though--right this moment, is that amazing photo! What a sweet shot! I too am a mother of three boys. Listening to your story, my breath caught in my chest. I am stunned over the obstacles you have faced. It seems you have emerged so strong, so clear, so real. I think you are amazing and I am inspired by who you are. Thank you for sharing your life. Your truth--the honesty is so palpable--that one cannot leave without being touched. Life surely is "too short....Life changes. Life goes on. Life is what you make of it." Yes mam! I am so grateful to you for this post. The holidays tend to feel like a runaway train to me--so many obligation and npt enough time (money, gifts-ugh!!) to satisfy anyone...least of all ME! Thank you for this clarity. I am ready to make some decisions about what I really want to do this holiday season. You can't make everybody happy, right? I'm going to do my best. I'm thinking of you.