11.23.2011

How we gather

A baby lives with us now, which means that I get less sleeping time. Less sleeping time, though, means more thinking time, and that feels like a fair trade. Today, I’ve been thinking about how we gather.


My parents are divorced, so how we gather, the “we” that gathers, changes each year.


Last year, we joined my step-mom Amy’s family for Thanksgiving in Toledo, Ohio. These photos are from that trip. With guitars, and buckeyes, and elbows on the table is how we gathered there.




With borrowed sweatshirts, a football, Marcel the Shell with Shoes On (he’s back!), and three kinds of pie.




Before the meal, we joined hands around the table. Each of us had to say out loud why we were thankful for the person on our left. I like that we gather that way. A person who loves me very much was standing on my right, and when her turn came, she said simply that she was thankful that I was here. I had had my fourth and final surgery five and a half months earlier, a surgery that we hadn’t expected, but that had felt like a finish line, of sorts. That’s why she said it, I know, because my being almost gone, but then here, was still on everyone’s mind. The thing is, it had only just recently stopped being always on my mind, so being thanked for being “here” felt hard. “Is that the bar, for me? Not dead?” I asked Eli before bed that night. I want to be more than just “here.”


We’re staying put in Cambridge this year for Thanksgiving. My mother is with us, and we’re going to my friend Julia’s parents’ house tomorrow. I’m bringing apple cake. Maybe something chocolate, too.

Happy Thanksgiving. See you next week, with soup.

16 comments:

The Kosher Spoon said...

Hi,
I've been subscribed to your blog for just a short few weeks. Your writing style is captivating! I love it.

I'll just share that I think the person who loves you very much didn't mean to remind you of your near-death experience, they needed to remind themselves so the intense feeling of gratitude resurfaces. It's often that we feel grateful for something when it's (almost) no longer there.

In my opinion, thanking Gd for every minute detail of our lives and being should be a constant, daily occurrence that we need to sensitize our self to. I'm sure you have a heightened awareness due to the miracle you've experienced (despite not wanting to be labeled/viewed as The Miracle Case).

And i think that bar of "not dead" is for everyone...

Have a happy, healthy, fulfilling year!

Molly said...

You're way more than just here, friend. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, from me and mine. xo

Jaime Rugh said...

So beautiful

Rosiecat said...

I don't know. As someone whose loved ones are usually not with her, I'm happy when the people I love most are *here*, with me. I suppose that phrase can mean all sorts of things!

At any rate, cheers to good food, good company, good writing, and on-line companionship. Happy Thanksgiving, sweet Jess.

Adrian J.S. Hale said...

You make me smile deep down. Looking forward to the soup. Enjoy the rest of you weekend.

A Day That is Dessert said...

What Molly said. xoxo

molly said...

I dare say, you are more than just "here" -- more by far, as you are now "we". No small thing, that.

A most happy Thanksgiving to you, Jess. Here's to dozens more.

Cheers,
M

linda said...

you make each of us blossom with your wonderful posts & your positive being!

'let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.' -m. proust

thank you & i am grateful for your generosity of spirit..& certainly good health!

Sara said...

thanks for this post that fills in those of us who are "occasionals". Your life filling in is sweetness. An even more grateful holiday now, with more to come.

Jess said...

Hi, friends. Thanks for your very kind notes. I hope you've had a lovely holiday weekend. Here's to a great week. xo.

Holly said...

You are an inspiration in so many ways. (And on a side note, Mia is stunning...those eyes! Goodness!)

Nishta said...

hey, for those of us who are really glad that you are JUST HERE...but I get it. bar is, of course, higher, but when you are starting from really scary, "here's" not so bad. as I imagine we might feel about Ms. Maya this year--here is quite swell, indeed. xo

Nishta said...

and I managed to type "Maya" instead of "Mia" for some very strange reason. forgiveness, little one!

Hana Itzhaki said...

I am more than thankful that you are here... in this world, your kitchen, my kitchen, orbiting the bloggosphere. Thank you for being such a brilliant writer and chef and for sharing your story. Here's to the future!

Jess said...

Thanks, Holly. (And yes, those eyes kill me.)

Yes, yes, "here" is good. Hugs to you, N.

You're very kind, Hana! Thank you.

Clarice said...

Thank you, Jess, for such beautiful writing and thoughtfulness. I believe I can understand the feelings from both sides. Having just made it through our first Thanksgiving without someone who should have been with us, I can feel the gratitude of the person on your right.

...and having been a reader here for 2 years, I do believe you are far more than simply "here"!