Sigh... as you can tell from my week's posting, it has been one of those no good mixed up frightful absolutely awful weeks (actually more like two weeks). Life is always rather interesting here and requires more faith than the average bear. However, I was ready to contact my local Catholic priest under exorcism in the yellow pages when all the appliances stopped working.
Sheesh... sometimes life is just hard and there is nothing we can do about it but endure to the end and pray... or eat chocolate... preferably both.
Last night the family room was full of young people as Christopher celebrated his 20th birthday. My... time goes so fast. It hardly seems possible I no longer have a teenager in the house. Twenty years ago I was having a scheduled C-section the day before Thanksgiving.
Christopher's birthday is low key again this year. I was very proud of him as he took the celebration into his own hands, called and "Facebooked" friends, and bought the three pizzas himself (using an online coupon code). I provided a hamburger dip, some corn chips, and cheap pop (soda).
Over the years (out of necessity) I have learned to "manage the expectations" of young people. If one always has an over-the-top birthday party then the parents are required to come up with something bigger and better each year. I found this to be true quite often in our former neighborhood, which was quite affluent.
The thought of a small, family gathering (or just a few friends) with a cake and candles to blow out by the birthday boy or girl was considered insulting. Of course, next year's 21st birthday party will be one which will be budgeted for as it is a big deal. I remember Stephanie's 21st at the Olive Garden where a young man joined us for the first time... now known in the family for almost ten years as "the world's best son-in-law". :)
Speaking of expectations... a former pastor used to preach the same sermon the Sunday before Thanksgiving. He reminded us that the next month is the most difficult in many families as expectations are high and quite often family relationships are not the best. He always suggested spending time in prayer before family gatherings, realizing any strains in relationships will be magnified during the Holidays. Can we hear an Amen from the back pews?!!
This afternoon my husband and I will be attending the 50th wedding anniversary celebration for my sister Bonnie and her hubby. How we thank God that he has held on for them to be able to reach this milestone. They met in high school and married as teenagers. Their children are now grandparents for they also married very young. (Many thought Bonnie was actually my mother when I was born, much to my mother's chagrin.)
Most of the family is gone now, I will be the only one of my sister's seven siblings attending. Jean and our oldest brother live too far away and both refuse to travel "North" when it is cold enough to snow. It is during Holidays and family celebrations that the empty place at the table is noticed the most. As we make Mother's recipes, they often don't taste the same as hers and we realize it was her love that added the special flavor.
I will enjoy my sister's celebration today and cook a small Thanksgiving meal later this week... thanking God for those who have gone before us and the blessings He bestows on us today.
Picture: Easter place settings with Great Grandmother's china