When I was young, I thought couple who celebrated their 25th wedding anniversaries were old. I learned when I celebrated mine, that they were really quite young. I was astonished I ever thought differently. How could I EVER have thought that? I must have needed glasses at the time.
Being married more than 25 years to my “first love” has been a blessing. He was the cook and I was the waitress at a restaurant I worked in while in college. Here is some advice for anyone reading who is not yet married: LOOK FOR SOMEONE WHO LIKES TO COOK. I have been so fortunate because HE does all of the grocery shopping and cooking. Really. I come home almost every day to a delightfully cooked meal, complete with salad, meat, veggies, and an tall iced glass of Diet Coke. He used to make desserts, too, until we both started to expand our waists…
For Thanksgiving, we have a great family tradition. I and ten others in my immediate family, (children, their significant others, and a grandchild) go to the movies. Yes, the movies! We saw “The Life of Pi” because several of my children are fascinated with animals. It was about an Indian boy shipwrecked with some animals from his family zoo. Everyone seemed to enjoy it because it had something for everyone. Brooding, spiritual, philosophical content along with a cheetah jumping on animals and killing them for food. The food chain. Done tastefully with no blood or other sites where one has to turn their head, shut their eyes and go “EWWWWWWW”. We enjoyed buckets of drenched in fake butter popcorn and ICEEs. Great day at the movies for us. Great day in the kitchen for my husband, who loves to cook but likes to have a quiet kitchen, something which is rarely available to him.
We came home from the movies and VOILA! Turkey and trimmings are on the neatly set table with the obligatory child made Turkey centerpiece. All 12 of us sat down and had an extremely delicious dinner. My husband basked in the glory. There is nothing better than doing something you love and getting praise for it.
I was proud of my children who “signed” (American Sign Language) for Marie, who is deaf. We signed the simple Thanksgiving prayer,and the conversations began. As a mother, there is no sweeter sight than all of my family members being happy and sharing conversation with Marie, who smiled and laughed and participated. I think I have raised them right. I remember that every Thanksgiving and I my little heart smiles inside me.
In case readers may not know, my book was reviewed by Readers Digest:
What to Read After a Hurricane
by Dawn Raffel
Shortly before Hurricane Sandy came to my town, flooding my house and knocking out the power (which is still out), I had the good fortune to download The Apple Tree: Raising 5 Kids With Disabilities and Remaining Sane by Linda Petersen.
Her story begins not with her children but with her own childhood spent traveling the country in the backseat of her parents’ car (her perpetually restless dad had post-traumatic stress disorder from WWII), often with very little money and few provisions. Where someone else might have seen deprivation and isolation, Petersen viewed her unusual childhood with a sense of wonder and gratitude. After marrying young and giving birth to a son who was legally blind (and who went on to earn a PhD on full scholarship), Petersen and her husband adopted four more special needs children and fostered many others.
Her honesty, wit, and terrific storytelling make this a book you want to read rather than one you feel you should read. So there I was, swiping pages on an iPad in the dark in a blackout… I couldn’t have picked a better book for putting it all in perspective.