Friday, November 23, 2007

What do Thanksgiving, Childbirth and Harry Potter having in common?

I wrote this a couple of years ago and posted it on I was thinking about it yesterday, so thought I'd re-post it here:

I love Thanksgiving. Used to be Halloween was my favorite holiday but I think Thanksgiving is, now. Yesterday wasn't that special; we went to my in-laws and sat around and ate not-so-great carryout Thanksgiving dinner. Hammy and I took a walk, which was nice. The kids played chess and then we all watched 'The Blues Brothers' on TV. But I enjoyed the day tremendously. Partly, I think because it's the only non-religious and non-patriotic holiday that gathers families together. I think we just get together to enjoy ourselves. As I stood in my kitchen at 8:00 yesterday morning, putting sweet potatoes on to steam and making veggie casserole, I felt a wonderful sense of connection with all the hundreds of thousands of other women (and the few men) in their kitchens doing the same things. I felt connected to my mother and my grandmothers (one of whom died almost 20 years ago), their mothers, all my aunts and so many women back, back, back through history.

I felt the same, only much more powerfully, when I was in labor; this incredible feeling of being one with every woman who had ever given birth throughout all of human existence. That knowledge awed me and gave me strength.

I feel the same kind of delighted connection every time a new Harry Potter book comes out. I'll see my sons sitting glued to the book (or I'll read it aloud to them, which is my preferred way of dealing with 3 people who want to read the one copy we buy) and be so happy knowing that around the world there are, literally, hundreds of thousands of people, children mostly, who are immersed in a world of wizards and magic. It almost brings tears to my eyes just to think of how sweet it is.

I know some people get off on being connected at sporting events or displays of patriotism. Those activities seems false to me, almost creepy because they seem so mindless. I think I prefer the simpler, less contrived moments of life that connect us.
Today’s query: What chains do you appreciate being a link in?


Laurie Kruczek said...

I really understand what you are saying about sports and the mindlessness of "patriotism" (often engulfed in displays of weapons and a false sense of power). My husband and I were just saying tonight how organized sports really turn us off and how happy we are to have been raised in non-sporty families. Too bad my parents are both obsessed with Fox News, but that's another topic all together.

I changed my favorite holiday from Halloween to Christmas just this year. I love it when the snow is finally falling, the fire is in the fireplace, the wool sweaters are out, and everything is twinkly and rosey and happy. People are nicer to each other, and even if that is just because of the holidays, at least they are making an effort, unlike the rest of the year. Our Thanksgiving was very nice, though. This was the first year I didn't fall asleep immediately after dinner, too!

Reading and music are the most amazing ways to share with kids. I learn so much about my girls each time we participate in either activity. I wish television was less intrusive in my household, but some things I don't have control over, unfortunately. BUT I refuse to have less time with books, the one hobby I don't think I could live without.

Friendly Mama said...

My husband is a sports fan. He has season passes to the professional football team in our town. I've gone with him once or twice and have been completely creeped out by the atmosphere at the stadium. We have 3 boys. The older two dislike professional sports (the youngest is only 5, so may go either way). I'm relieved that they don't like it.

We moved our TV from our house to an outbuilding more than a year ago. I'd been wanting, arguing to get rid of the TV since Hammy and I got together 18 years ago. Finally, last year, mainly because the kids seemed to obsessed with video games and were wanting to play them all the time, he agreed. Hammy and the kids can go out to the kerosene heated outbuilding and watch a movie or play a video game but they don't that much (unless the kids have a friend over). It's just not that comfortable. Occassionally, we'll watch a movie on our computer, but I live quite happily without access to TV. Even Hammy, who was born with a TV remote in his hand, frequently says how much more pleasant it is in our house when we're all sitting around reading books, conversing or playing board games without the noise and distraction of the TV.
Good luck to you in creating the atmosphere in your household which you prefer! Marriage is about compromise as much as anything else.