A New Holiday Attitude Inspired by My Late Sister-in-Law, Sandra

I am moving into a new phase in my life. It’s called the, “Oh, does it really matter?” phase, which is very far from where I have lived up until Covid when I zipped around in a mindset of “Okay, let’s do this!” This previous approach to life was accompanied by an impressive amount of energy. That’s not to say I don’t have energy after two years of being holed up due to the pandemic, but my energy is perhaps slightly less and also much more precious to me. Do I really want to rush around getting everything tidy for Thanksgiving and then be so tired that I’m sitting there pale-faced and worn out when everyone arrives? Does that even make any sense?

In the past, it somehow has made sense (at least to me) or maybe it was simply more of a reflex. Holidays meant cleaning, cooking, preparing, getting ready for the onslaught so that everything was tidy, yummy, and pretty when the guests arrived. Now, I’m more in the mindset of my late sister-in-law Sandra Adams Leatherwood who would shrug at the dust on her shelves and then chuckle, “I don’t think anybody’s coming to see if I’ve taken up dusting, do you?” Amen, Sister.

So, here I am, three days before Thanksgiving with very few things done (well, Rachael and I did make gravy and cranberry sauce) and I don’t even care. I might care once we get to the orange grove and I see how much tidying there is to do there, but right this second, sitting here in my home in LA, I find myself giving my own shrug. Surely, a good visit is more important than everything being exactly in place. Yes? Yes.

Ray and I are headed to Ojai tonight or early in the morning to have a workday there in preparation. I’m sure there will be more to do than we can get done in one day, but I’ve resolved to be just fine with whatever happens. As my children have assured me on multiple occasions, “Mom, you’re not much fun when you’re tired.” Actually, I’m less than “not fun” since when I’m tired I have a tendency to get my feelings hurt very easily. The bottom line, rest and sleep are my best friends if I hope to maintain the wonderful relationships I currently enjoy with my family and close friends. You do not want to see me tired. I’m a droopy mess with no sense of humor and a critical streak that sends everyone who knows me running in the other direction.

So, on that note, I think I’ll just relax, enjoy whatever happens over the next few days, and be grateful that so far I haven’t run off those people I love. My goal: not to start now!

If you happen to be one of those people coming to the orange grove for Thanksgiving this year, then let’s just agree on lowered expectations. We’ll have fun sitting in the sun, telling stories and eating good food. I can promise that much. Exactly how much hard labor happens between now and then is questionable.

On that note, I’ll close. I am going to go up and rest just a bit before we head to Ojai. We’ll be returning to LA in a couple of days before going back up early Friday, which is the day we officially celebrate Thanksgiving in our family (to let our kids celebrate with their other families on TG Day and/or to just get ready to head to the orange grove.) I am looking forward to seeing old friends and some relatives I haven’t seen in a while. That is what really does matter. The rest of it – the let’s get every detail nailed down – not so much.

We’ll see how I do with this new attitude. I hope I can keep this relaxed approach going. I think everyone will be happier if I do, most importantly, me. When in doubt, I’ll keep Sandra and the dusting in mind. My dear sister-in-law knew where her priorities were and I’m happy to learn from her shining example.

Sister-in-law Sandra

4 Comments Add yours

  1. judyalter says:

    Interesting idea, Len, to attribute the change to pandemic. I’d been thinking my new laissez-faire attitude was due to aging, but maybe that’s not the only factor. I do know these days I think it’s more important to have good food than to worry about dust bunnies and ironed tablecloths. Do have a happy holiday.

  2. Hi Judy. I think the pandemic has forced me to stop and reassess what’s important to me in a new and different way. I’m glad about that! Happy TG to you and yours.

  3. Marion Hint says:

    I don’t do holidays because it puts too much pressure on me.
    I have participated in celebrations.
    My belief is that no one runs a finger along the furniture.
    The meal, while fun to pass around all the tasty dishes soon takes second place to the lively conversation.
    Do people really think about what they are eating?
    And the dessert. Who has room for it. And how many feel guilty for overeating?
    And then you have to face the clean-up.
    And a month later you are doing it all over again.
    That’s not for me,
    No guilt involved.

    1. Nicely said, Marion. Yes, the conversation is the most important part. The rest takes at least second place. Thanks for your comment

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