Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Brimming With Anticipation

"We’re hanging on because we know it’s coming,” my sister confided yesterday, in a conversation outlining a great deal of slogging through events I’d rate just south of mundane.

I know the feeling. At our house, we’re counting down as well. As of this posting, we’re three weeks out from our annual week of high-spirited Thanksgiving festivities: four adults, four kids, stacks of board games, countless rounds of whatever beverage your current cup is designed to hold. There are pumpkins to carve, movies to watch, and stories to tell. We’ll go through bags of flour, pounds of butter, gallons of coffee, and sinkfuls of dishes.

And did I mention the pumpkin cheesecake?

For my family, Thanksgiving week is typically the culminating event in a jam-packed season of healthy activities. In fact, it was just over a month ago that I posted right here in this forum that October was “a blockbuster hit I’ve been waiting for all year: warm fires on the patio, trips to the apple orchard, and a World Series destined to play out in the Bronx.” Back then I didn’t know I was standing on the threshold of a month we’d end up renaming “Doc-tober,” as a knee injury, impending surgery, mono, and two random viruses number among our collective family incidents. At that earlier writing, I had no idea that the handful of days we’d all be healthy enough for patio flame, it would invariably be raining. From the albeit cheerier vantage point of earlier days, I couldn’t possibly have predicted that the only offering the local orchard would have would be the cryptic message that there are “no apples this year.” And although I’m happy to report that the World Series has been playing out rather happily in the Bronx, aforementioned circumstances have caused us to sleep through a disappointing number of innings. There were some good moments, to be sure, but in general, October has simply made Thanksgiving Week live all the larger in my mind.

Anticipation is a powerful gift. It’s that little boost that keeps us going through dry spells, rough patches, and sticky spots. It’s the fuel we put in our emotional tanks on those days when we’d otherwise be running on empty. Anticipation reminds us that ordinary is just temporary, and that life is meant to be a lot fuller than our everyday schedules. And whether or not the things we anticipate unfold as we hope, in the act of looking forward to them, we have already experienced much of the pleasure.

If history is any indication, it is unlikely that our actual holiday will disappoint. But for the moment, anticipation is a gift I’m choosing to savor for the next twenty-one days.

For more stories from the bright side of life’s unexpected, head on over to Tuesdays Unwrapped, where each week is a celebration of the overlooked and underrated gifts better known as life.


Dawn said...

your anticipation is contagious (unlike some of that guck running around your house!) i love this... Anticipation reminds us that ordinary is just temporary, and that life is meant to be a lot fuller than our everyday schedules. While my schedule seems it will collapse under the weight of one more item… the fullness of anticipation promises to lighten the weight of it all. i am desperately trying to come up with some grand idea that will vault my heart into thanksgiving… any ideas?

5thsister said...

Sometimes, too much anticipation can lead to disappointment, don't you think? Regardless, the holidays always fill me with hope, gladness and charity...and that's always a good thing!

Love this post.

Helene said...

I find that anticipation of the holidays with my family is always a huge let down. So I've learned to not build them up in my head as to how great they could be b/c I always end up disappointed. I wish so much it was something to look forward to.

In fact, my MIL has already started the drama...where oh where will we spend Thanksgiving this year? UGH!

Your family's Thanksgiving sounds wonderful....can I just spend it with you all? LOL

A Little Of This And That said...

Life would indeed be drab, were it not for anticipation. I guess the folks who don't care for the holidays can at least anticipate their end.

Kathleen said...

I so agree with you about anticipation, although for my personality, I must always take anticipation with a bit of caution. Otherwise, I will live entirely for what is to come rather than for what is now. But you're right...anticipation certainly a boost on rough days!!

You really did have a tough October. Many blessings for a much more pleasant, healthy November, a month during which we can reflect on all we have to be thankful for!

Catherine Wannabe said...

Woot!! I'm brainstorming pumpkin carving plans and bringing the springform pan to the top of the cake pan pile!!! In exactly three weeks I will be there to fall asleep on the couch, too! LOL.


Holly said...

You make me excited for Thanksgiving. Can I come to your sounds fun, and you have pumpkin cheescake! My mother in law and her new boyfriend are coming to mine...not sure what to think about that!


Cynthia@RunningWithLetters said...

I love these comments--they all seem to open up new conversational "threads." I'll try to touch on them:

Dawn: Ideas...well, there are a lot of traditions I could share, but two of my favorites are the pumpkin carving contest and our "thankful feathers." For the contest, the 8 of us split into teams of two to design a fall themed pumpkin. The kids are astoundingly creative (we've had a football helmet, a pie, complete with pureed filling that looked good enough to eat, and innumerable twists on thankfulness.) And may I just say that the adults are pretty creative, too? It is amazing fun. As far as the feathers, when we sit down to dinner, everyone has a set of construction paper feathers in a little pumpkin place-holder basket that the children make for each of us. After the meal, we write things we are thankful for on the feathers and we collect them all and read them over dessert--we have fun guess who wrote what. Each feather tends to get LOADED and also reflects the personality of each person. We used to glue all the feathers onto a paper bag turkey, but there got to be too many and the turkey was too large and cumbersome to display. Don't know if that helps, but maybe it will spark some ideas!

Polly--yes, there is a risk of disappointment with too much anticipation. But when I think back to how much I anticipated what turned out to be a disappointing October, I don't regret the moments of anticipation...they brightened me at times when I needed it. I think the key is really in tempering or managing our anticipation...enjoying it without letting our happiness depend on it.

Helene--I am sorry the holidays are a little stressful. We'd have you over for a big slice of apple or pumpkin pie, but it sounds like you might already have plans! I think i will host a virtual open house here during thanksgiving week--maybe share a couple videos, perhaps a recipe or two? Hope you can stop by.

A Little Of This and That....yes, there are moments to anticipate all year long!

Kathleen--excellent point about not forgetting the importance of living in the moment in the midst of anticipation. Could be a whole new post topic...balance...

Catherine: We will NOT fall asleep on the couch. There will be too much excitement.

Holly--You're invited to the virtual open house, too, since we probably can't do better than that this time...

Erin M. said...

I think I might have to make a pumpkin cheesecake this year instead of pumpkin pie. Although a few weeks ago I posted a recipe for a gooey butter pumpkin cake which was pretty tasty. Maybe I'll just make several pumpkin desserts and forego the turkey and dressing?!!?

Cynthia@RunningWithLetters said...

Love the way you think, Erin!

Kimberly said...

Oh, I love this post. Anticipation is a delicious thing!


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