Saturday, November 18, 2006

Cheating Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is snubbing me. It overheard me talking about Christmas.

I admit it. I’ve been cheating. Even while picking out a bird for the Thanksgiving table, my mind was on Christmas. “Should I get two right now? Or just plan on ham for the December gathering. Everyone likes ham. But how often do we have turkey the rest of the year?”

What? I couldn’t focus for one minute on the holiday at hand? No wonder it feels left out.

I already have plans for the day after Thanksgiving. Haul the Christmas decorations out of the attic. Goodbye pumpkins. Goodbye gourds. Goodbye little wooden pilgrims. Goodbye earthtones. Hello red and green. Or will I go radical and trim the tree with plum and cobalt and turquoise this year? Maybe I’ll have time to decide while setting the Thanksgiving table. Oh. I did it again.

If it only happened late every November, I might excuse my behavior. But I’m guilty of cheating children and projects, too. I failed to linger in the wonder of toddlers, anticipating the day they’d leave for kindergarten. I didn’t always stay mentally where my children were, but projected ahead to where they were headed. (I don’t do that as much with my grandchildren because I’m smarter now. Six months is a great age. So is fifteen months. And two years. And six and a bit. I’ll stay there with them until they change. As the Bible says, “Today has enough trouble of its own. Don’t go borrowing tomorrow’s.”)

I sometimes cheat my current novel by worrying about details of the next one. I slight it—attention-wise—for fear it won’t make it out of the slush pile on an editor’s desk. Whose fault is it if it never makes it TO the slush pile? Mine.

I worry about writing the end adequately. I’m in the middle. Maybe I should just live in the middle until it isn’t the middle anymore.

The holiday, my children, my grandchildren, my projects, my spouse, and the Lord don’t deserve my cheating on them by living two days or months or years or decades from now rather than—as the overused catch phrase goes—in the moment.

I was going to work on my Christmas cards tonight. I think I’ll wait. Give Thanksgiving a little respect.

Pressing on,



Anonymous said...

I laughed all through your post. You're just like me! I've already started writing the yearly Christmas letter. Every year the decorations are hauled out of their boxes as soon as Thanksgiving is over. But this year, due to a remodel/addition that is not yet completed, I need to wait several more weeks. Oh, the struggle... I guess I need to work on not cheating Thanksgiving myself!

eileen said...

Christmas sneaks up on me every year! I'm always amazed. You'd think I'd learn to shop early or look at the calendar. Oh no! Sneak attacks...always.

Haven't read blogs or much of anything since this new baby arrived. Nana's been rockin'.
Have a blessed Thanksgiving! Wait on Christmas, give me a FEW days, please.

Kristy Dykes said...

Great post, Cynthia! We put up our tree tonight. We'll do the lights and decs. tomorrow night. Oh, I wish December had six weeks in it instead of four!

Kristine Pratt said...

I'm also guilty of cheating children. I remember all those days and nights just waiting for them to be old enough to. Old enough to sleep through the night, old enough to crawl.

My youngest started preschool this year and now I wish I'd enjoyed all of them more in their baby and toddler days.

Your blogs always make me stop and think, Cynthia. More than once I've gone away with new resolve. Thank you!