When I was a little girl, I loved nothing more than holidays. My favorites, of course, were the winter ones (with Halloween being my 2nd favorite after Christmas). I even liked St. Paddy’s Day. I was that child who would jump up and down multiple times the day before because she was just so darn excited. And yes–I was awake at 4 am that morning. Every holiday. I’m sure my parents adored that aspect of it, too. 😉
I was even like this as an emo teen. I was always a key player in cooking for our holidays. I never complained either because I loved cooking something fierce. And I was good at it. In my teens, I started calling our turkey “Turkey Dude,” and I invented a special dance to accompany all that basting I did. As I got older, I started experimenting with food more–trying to cook things I never had before–in addition to ALL the favorites. I got special joy in making things prettier and fancier than they had been in previous years. Oddly, the kitchen is the one place where I can mostly relax. My perfectionism subsides a little, which means I can do pretty awesome things (because I’m not in my own way).
I really, really miss cooking like that. I had so much energy back then (and Mama as sous chef). In recent years, I’ve tried to cook that way–but it was an exhausting ordeal that I didn’t get a lot of joy from. I tried. I really did, but when your heart isn’t in it, it’s a burden. My roommate makes fun of me because every meal I make is this big production. I can’t really cook simple food, for just a few people. I have to overdo it. It’s the Leo in me, I think. I like making things special. I like making garnishes and gilding everything. Despite my hatred of parties, I actually love having people over for dinner. Shocking, I know. My ex and I did it often, a long time ago, and I miss it.
Anyway, more recently, my roommate and I started relying a lot more on Whole Foods for our Thanksgiving dinners. I’d do a few dishes, and we’d pick up the rest. Last year, I finally started appreciating the ease of such things–and stopped feeling guilty about not cooking much.
This year, I’m once again relying on Whole Foods. Instacart is braving the crowds for me–since I really (still) can’t do that aspect of holiday–and should be here any minute now. It’s just me this year. But I got a big bottle of wine, flowers, and all the things to make it great. And of course, I’m making my stuffing. Because that’s one thing I can’t outsource without a wince.
Tomorrow, I’ll be hanging out at a nursing home–volunteering for most of the day–and coming home to a nice meal alone. I’m even getting dressed up.
I just gratitude bombed like my entire company. And I found myself smiling. It was that smile only my roommate has seen–this little self-satisfied lopsided kid grin that takes over my face. It’s my Daddy’s smile. And I realized–just now–I feel like that little kid–so excited for the holiday. Joy.
Hope you all realize the gifts you have and give all the gifts you can share this week. Have a great holiday. And jump up and down a little (or a lot…I won’t judge). I’ll see ya on the flip.