Hey, Norman Rockwell, That’s Not Thanksgiving!.

13212745

Freedom from Want by Norman Rockwell

 

Right, so Im not so sure that Norman Rockwell’s famous print, Freedom from Want, is an accurate portrayal of what Thanksgiving truly is.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve romanticized the ability that the Holiday’s have to unite the family.  Especially Thanksgiving.  In my head, it’s a time when we should all gather ’round the table together, enjoy an old-fashioned specially prepared meal, and recognize all that we have to be grateful for.

As you  walk through the door of the of the home where you’ll be celebrating the big day, you immediately notice a blazing fire in the fireplace as you shake off the cold and bits of snow that stick to your wool jacket.  As your host helps you with your scarf, gloves and dish that you’ve brought to share, your senses are assaulted from the aroma of pumpkin pies, cinnamon pinwheels, or maybe even the pine tree scent of a live tree. (for those of you who jump the gun on Christmas!!)

You look around and spot a children’s table set up somewhere in a discreet corner where chaos is sure to break out.  The women are gathered in the kitchen, each with an assigned duty to help make the meal flow – All the while catching up on news from each other’s family’s.  The men, all gather in a room with a giant screen TV  watching some must-see football game. In good nature, they slap each other on the back and laugh loudly at something just out of your earshot.  They debate and argue about whose favored team is best and sure to go to a bowl game.

All of this activity leads up to some fantastic meal that you’ll all gather around, while celebrating the pilgrims landing on Plymouth Rock.  This is Thanksgiving!!

Or, is it?  Is Thanksgiving really all about this festive scene that’s been planted in our heads with the help of the media and storybook tales and long-lived family traditions?

Let’s face it: as wonderful as the holiday may be (a day dedicated to football, gluttony and awkward family moments) maybe Thanksgiving is about something deeper.  Something deeper than this gluttonous tradition that we’ve all been raised to treasure.  A tradition with a very questionable beginning might I add.

Last September, something joyous happened in our family.  My husband and I were having Sunday breakfast with my son and daughter-in-law.  They told us about a shopping trip they went on in which they found a little something for us.  It was an early “Christmas gift” but they wanted us to open it together that morning.  Lauren handed me the bag and I  peaked inside. I saw a gift along with a homemade note.   I pulled the paper out and read it aloud.  On it was written – “Only the best parents get promoted to grandparents.”   *blink*   I had not even made it through the end of the note before I started squealing in happiness.  I turned to my hubs and he was tearing up.  I continued to squeal, ran to the kids and hugged them.  They were giggling.  I was squealing.  Clark was crying.  It was a beautiful scene! We were going to be Grandparents!!

baby copy

Fast forward thirteen weeks.  Fast forward past thirteen weeks of my beautiful daughter-in-law, Lauren, being cautious and keeping the pregnancy on the down low until just the right time to make the announcement. I couldn’t wait to share the news with my sisters and friends and relatives.  Lauren and my son Bruce were doing everything right.  They went to the Drs’ appointments together.  There were ultrasounds and multivitamins.  They were eating healthy.  There were checkups. Everything was moving along perfectly.

And then, the phone call.  This past week, Thanksgiving week, I woke early to a text… “Hey Mom, txt me when you get up.  Bruce left for work already so it doesn’t matter how early it is.”

As a mother’s intuition goes, I instantly got a knot in my stomach.  I immediately called Lauren. It was before 6am.  Something was off.  I could hear it in her voice as she answered.   And then her words hit me like a brick.  “Something’s not right.”  She had phoned her Dr and was told to take her time but to meet her at her office when she had a chance that morning.  They would check things out.

I threw on some clothes and raced through the Chicago rush hour traffic to her apartment. Ninety agonizing minutes.  And then we drove to the hospital together.  Bruce was waiting for her there.  My hub was there.  Clark and I watched as the kids walked into the exam room.  An hour later our worst fears were confirmed.  Lauren had lost the baby.  It was heart wrenching to watch their world fall apart.

Outside the downtown office, it was cold and windy that day.  Clark and I looked at this young couple who had just gotten the worse news of their lives delivered to them.  In the span of a few days they were catapulted from cloud nine to a state of agonizing devastation. It was more than any of us could bear.  Our hearts were broken.

The days to follow were solemn.  Everyone tried to hold each other up.  My boys, who would have been uncles for the first time, were heartbroken for Bruce and Lauren.  Devastated, Clark and I kept a close eye on the kids to make sure they were processing this tragic loss.  They came out to stay with us.  It was open-ended.  They wanted and needed to be with family.  And so, we gathered and just stayed together.  It was without a doubt the hardest thing that both Bruce and Lauren had ever gone through in their lives so far.  And, they were right where they needed to be for the time being.

The day before they were going to leave to go back to their own apartment, the news stations were warning people about an early snowstorm that would hit the city. We don’t usually get snow in November.  We rarely even have snow on Thanksgiving. But, we were being warned over and over again that we were about to get hammered.

I woke up very early that morning after that predicted snowfall.  I pulled the drapes back and l looked out my window.  The outside world was lit up from the glow of the moonlight.  The predicted snow had come.  The ground and streets were covered with a deep blanket of undisturbed white that stretched from one yard to the next..  There were no tracks on the streets yet and no footprints across any lawns.  It was beautiful. And, peaceful.

My eyes were drawn to our driveway which had four cars parked on it.  Those were my kids cars hidden under those mounds of snow.  Cars that last week would not have been parked on that driveway.  Cars that were there that morning because we, as a family, had gathered together to hold each other up while mourning the loss of something so precious to all of us.

I thought about the timing of it all.  It was Thanksgiving week.  I smiled to myself and got a feeling of warm love inside.

This…. This is what Thanksgiving truly was.  Family.  Love.  We feel each other’s pain.  We celebrate each others victories.  And I’m so truly thankful for the blessing of Family.

Wishing you and your loved ones a truly Happy Thanksgiving and a Joyous start to your Holiday Season.

 

IMG_20130306_221652

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you remember your dreams?

2014-01-09-Dreams_Cloud_Recurring_Dreams_shutterstock_96056636

 

I had my recurring dream last night.

I’ve been having the same one for years.  I’m back in school again.  Sometimes it’s high school.  Sometimes it college.  It’s always in some bizarre setting and never with the same group of people.  Sometimes it’s with current friends and acquaintances.  Other times I’m with people from my past.  Sometimes it’s with old co-workers or neighbors or friends from church.  The only common thread running through the dream is that I am back at school again.  That thought in itself is a nightmare.

The actual building I am in is always very big and it never looks familiar to me.  (Perhaps because I’m no spring chicken anymore and bordering on senile – which I totally blame on raising three *enthusiastic* boys.)  I’m ALWAYS lost in the facility and looking for my locker.  As I wander the long, winding halls – which never seem to make any architectural senseI am concentrating on trying to remember the combination to my locker.  I never can remember it.  (Again, that senility issue.)  I also can never remember the last time I was in class or where the classrooms are.  And, usually it takes place towards the end of the school year and everyone is going to graduate except for me.  I will be left behind in school for one more year – not knowing anyone who will be held back with me ~ worrying about who I will be living with.

Then I wake up – relieved that I am, in fact, out of school and have been for years.  A big, big relief

I have wondered often why this is the dream that visits me so regularly.  As if it is a beloved movie or television series that is replayed over and over again on the big 64′ Samsung Flat-Screen TV in my mind.

After finally becoming curious enough, I started to dig around for answers and what I found was not anything unsettling or mysterious.  It was nothing that pointed to deep underlying issues in my life that were trying to surface through my subconsciousness at nighttime when I slept. What I found was the total opposite.  Recurring dreams are common amongst us.  So common in fact, that we all seem to be having the same ones.  Over and over again.

Now, I have always tended to chalk these dreams up to hectic periods in my life.  Like for instance, the Holidays.  Let’s face it, not many of us have a Normal Rockwell experience.  Is it a coincidence that I had my *school* dream last night in the midst of Black Friday & Cyber Monday Mayhem?  (Oh the pressure!)!  After weeks of preparing for Thanksgiving and trying to stage the perfect holiday gathering, I go to sleep at night with my wheels in full gear and when my body finally falls into slumber from the pure the exhaustion of the day, the wheels just keep on spinning.  Yep, no surprise there that my dream would invade my thoughts on that night!

OK, so that is my spin on dreams, but here are the “experts” spin.  (I use the term ‘experts’ loosely)

 

 

Top Ten Most Common Recurring Dreams

 

10. Trapped – You might have this dream when you are having conflict in deciding how to react in a situation in real life.  Or when you are feeling trappedthe pressure of mountains of debt in your life.  This dream usually means that you are trapped in real life – unable to make the right choice.

I experience this when grocery shopping.  I know I should opt for the Fat Free Frozen Yogurt but reach for the Edy’s Grand full fat Ice cream instead.  Totally worth losing a night of sleep feeling trapped!!  Yummy!

 

 

9. Public Exposure – The meaning of this dream could be that you are feeling exposed, awkward, or vulnerable, or you are afraid that you have Nakedrevealed too much of yourself (such as a secret or a very personal feeling) in a real life situation. You are in a state of undress, partial undress, or inappropriate dress (for example wearing pajamas to work). This is often accompanied by feelings of embarrassment and shame, but occasionally with the feeling of pride or freedom.

I imagine this would be a dream that someone working from home in their jammies all day (possibly eating Edy’s Ice cream in the process) would experience.  No shame in that!

 

8. Wet Dreams  This could mean an emotional burden, professional or relationship worries, amongst others. The dream tends to cause panic (as drowning-300x400drowning would but it clearly demonstrates, especially when it becomes a reoccurrence, that there is an important issue in the dreamer’s waking life that is not being dealt with that threatens to overwhelm them.

Nope, not the good kind of wet dreams.  Bummer.

 

 

7. I Can Fly!! – Being able to fly is a common theme in recurring dreams. It is generally positive imagery and the dream of being able to fly usually fallingpoints to creativity, widening your horizons, and overcoming the odds.

OK, so flying in dreams is good just as flying in real life is good, which to me denotes heading on vacation.  Chalk one up for the flying dreams!

 

6. Going Nowhere or moving in slow motion – Moving in slow motion, trapped in quicksand, or being otherwise unable to move can clearly signify a runninginplacerut that has developed in the dreamer’s life, regardless of whether it’s personal, professional, or their long term goals. This can show that the dreamer is facing difficult obstacles and restrictions and basically getting nowhere.

If you have this dream and you’re not part of the OK-Go Treadmill Music Video then this dream interpretation probably applies to you.

 

 

 5. How’s your dental plan? – This dream possibly signifies the underlying feeling of decay and fear of losing control of a situation in yoteethur life.

I always thought it was my minds way of telling me to cut back on sweets and goodies.  Or possibly, it may be a subtle reminder to make that dentist appointment I’ve been putting off.  *shrug*

 

 

 

4. Excuse me, could you point me in the direction of the washroom – To dream that you are in search of washroom or in a public restroom with no stalls, signifies Bathroomcrop_20101012your frustrations about getting enough privacy.”  Apprently, paretns of toddlers tend to have this one a lot.  Not only do they never get to ‘go’ by themselves in public washrooms any more – my kids often provides a play-by-play commentary on my private activities to the rest of the lucky people in the room!

OK, I’ve never had this one.  I pride myself in the fact that I know where every single washroom in the city is.  I also pride myself in the fact that I know where the nice ones are – you know, like in the posh lounges and bars of the swanky hotels. Stick with me!  I know ’em all!

3. Where’s my Locker?  Where’s my classroom?  What?! ~ there’s a test today? – If you can’t get your locker open, can’t find your classroom or your unprepared1house; or, you’re late for something (a test, a train, a meeting) then you find yourself in this category (and in good company – this is a very common type of dream).  School, career, even a new home – these settings all represent change. If you feel unprepared for changes coming to your waking life, then prepare yourself for dreams furnished with impenetrable school lockers, locked doors, and labyrinthine buildings.

DING DING DING!!!  This is my beloved recurring dream!!!  Unorganized? Me?  Absolutely!  Im often scattered and a fly by the seat of my pants kid of gal.  Ask my friends!!  They’ll confirm this for you.  However, on the flip side, these are all signs of creativity as well.  Hence – my Blog  🙂

 

2. Geranimo!!!!! – Falling dreams are a sign that you are out of control.  The represent a feeling of fear of abandonment, especially feeling flying1abandoned by a ‘caretaker’ such as a partner, employer.

Thanks GOODNESS I don’t have this one.  I do not like that feeling of falling, not to mention the challenge it would be for anyone to be my caregiver.  I tend to be bossy.  Although I call it “taking charge.”

 

1. The Big Chase – This one could possibly mean that you are trying to get away from something; “you are running away from or trying to hide from Chasedsomething you need to face.”  It could be “a feeling you are avoiding, a conflict you don’t want to handle or a difficult memory you would rather forget.

I probably would have had this one when my kids were little but I just could not find a good hiding from them during the day.  They ALWAYS knew where I was. 

 

 


 

Have you ever had recurring dreams and if so, what could they be trying to tell you?

 

2014-01-09-Dreams_Cloud_Recurring_Dreams_shutterstock_96056636